Rowland Tosses First Career No-Hitter in Season Finale Sweep
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | by Martin Kluk
Heidelberg (12-23)
Defiance (15-22)
5/1/2013 | Defiance, OH | Attendance: 70
Win: Rowland (8-8) 5.000014
Loss: Carly Pickard (0-3) 0.035200

DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Defiance College softball team ended its season on a high note Wednesday, May 1, as the Jackets swept the Heidelberg Student Princes by scores of 10-0 and 3-2 in non-conference action. The highlight of the afternoon was freshman Alli Rowland (Westerville, OH / Westerville North) pitching a no-hitter in the first tilt for DC’s first since 2009.

What really calmed the nerves of the Yellow Jacket freshman pitcher was a 10-run lead after the first frame. Game one got off to a wild start, as five Heidelberg errors in the bottom of the inning fueled the DC offensive outburst.

Senior Katie Miller (Archbold, OH / HS) got the scoring rolling with a two-run single that plated Macy Ferrall (St. Mary’s, OH / Memorial) and Maggie Neanen (Eaton, OH / HS). After an error brought in another score, Kailea Holbrook (Defiance, OH / HS) poked an RBI single that made it 4-0. Three more runs then crossed the plate on a pair of errors and a single from Tori Plummer (Perrysburg, OH / HS).

By this point, the Purple and Gold had batted around and Ferrall, Neanen and Miller went double, single, double to each knock in a score and make it 10-0. All 10 scores for DC were before the Student Princes recorded an out in the big inning. Finally, Heidelberg settled in and set down the next three batters in order to get out of the dreadful first frame.

From then on, DC would record the only hit over the next four innings of the game, as the pitchers dominated. The 10-run lead was a nice cushion for Rowland, but one score was all she really needed as the first-year pitcher hurled her best game of the season. She cruised through the Heidelberg lineup with little resistance, fanning four batters in the five-inning no-hitter. There were only two runners that reached base in her outing, coming from an error in the first inning and a walk in the fifth. Rowland’s no-hit shutout marked her 11th complete game of the season, lowered her ERA to 2.22, and improved her record to 8-8 to close out her 2013 campaign.

Rowland’s no-hitter was the first for the Yellow Jackets since Justine Johnston tossed a gem in a 2-0 victory over Anderson back on March 28, 2009. Her season-ending 2.22 ERA was also the lowest for a DC hurler since 2008.

The second contest of the afternoon was much closer and turned into a thrilling season finale. After both squads went scoreless in the first two frames, the Student Princes notched their first runs on the day. Heidelberg used a double and single to knock in a pair and grab a 2-0 in the top of the third. With the bases loaded and two outs, freshman Katie Patchin (West Farmington, OH / HS) came on in relief and got the Jackets out of the jam on an inning-ending strikeout.  

Defiance then responded in the bottom of the inning with some small ball. A leadoff walk to Ferrall got action started. Neanen then came up to the plate and laid down a bunt in the attempt to sacrifice the runner over, but beat out the throw for an infield single. Each of the runners then advanced a base on a wild pitch and Miller came through with a sac fly to cut the deficit to 2-1 through three innings.

After Patchin breezed through the Student Princes in their next at bats, DC used a little luck from some visitor fielding miscues to score a pair in the bottom of the fourth and take the lead. Ferrall was the batter that came through in the clutch with a single to left field, plating a pair of Jackets to go up 3-2.

Both squads went scoreless over the next two frames that sent Defiance into the top of the seventh clinging on to a slim 3-2 lead. Patchin had dominated up so far, allowing no hits with one walk in 2.1 innings. However, things got dicey in the final inning. The Student Princes used a pair of singles and a fly out to place runners on second and third with two outs. With the pressure on the young pitcher, Patchin gained her composure and got the final batter to line out to first and earn the season finale win for Defiance.

Patchin recorded the victory in the game and improved her season record to 5-4. She totaled 4.1 shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk with a pair of strikeouts. At the plate, DC’s leaders were Ferrall, who went 1-for-3 with two runs batted in, and Neanen who added a 2-for-4 performance.

With the sweep, the Purple and Gold softball team concluded the 2013 season with a 16-22 mark, while finishing 6-10 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The sweep was a great way to end the season for the Yellow Jacket seniors, along with building momentum for the DC softball program moving into next year.