DEFIANCE, OHIO – The Defiance College softball team opened up Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play with a split against Transylvania (Ky.) University at Sal Hench Field.
Junior Megan Warren (Mason) got the Yellow Jackets (10-10, 1-1 HCAC) off to a hot start after a solo home run to take the early 1-0 lead over the Pioneers (7-8, 1-1 HCAC) in the bottom of the first inning.
A short stalemate in runs was cut short in the bottom of the fourth, when DC added on three more runs to extend their lead, 4-0. Sophomore Keri Hupp (Louisville) got the scoring started after a groundout-RBI that allowed Warren to score. Sophomore Kaity Kuhn (Celina) came in to pinch hit two batters later and recorded a two-RBI single that gave freshman Jackie Hartman (Parma/Padua Franciscan) and sophomore Paige Huttenlocker (Jackson, Mich. /Grass Lake) the opportunity to cross home plate.
The Pioneers were able to add two runs to the scoreboard in the top of the sixth, but quick defense from the Yellow Jackets got DC out of a jam and stopped the Pioneer's momentum.
Defiance added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning after a leadoff double put Hartman in scoring position. Hupp then brought Hartman home after hitting a RBI-double to center field.
Only needing three-outs to end the game, Defiance held Transylvania to scoring a single run and finalized the 5-3 victory in favor of the home team.
The Purple and Gold had five hits with Hartman having a multi-hit game. She went two-of-three at the plate and scored a run two times. In the circle, sophomore Sarah Kaya (Lorain/Clearview) got the start and win as she pitched five innings. She allowed just two runs off of 10 hits and threw four strikeouts. Sophomore Sydni Smith (Jackson, Mich. /Lumen Christi) came in as relief and pitched two innings. She gave up one run on four hits.
In the nightcap, the scoreboard remained empty till the top of the fourth when Transylvania capitalized on a scoring opportunity and plated two runs to take a 2-0 lead.
The Yellow Jacket defense held the Pioneers scoreless the remainder of the game. Needing to score in the bottom of the seventh, senior Makayla McAvoy (Mt. Gilead) got things started with a leadoff double to right center. Huttenlocker came in to run for McAvoy and was moved to third after Kuhn grounded out to the shortstop. After two outs, sophomore Haley Patty (Bradford) hit what looked like a game-tying two-run home run, but came up just short and Patty had to settle for a RBI-double that scored Huttenlocker. Despite efforts from Defiance, the Pioneers ended the rally by getting the third and final out and the Yellow Jackets fell by a final score of 2-1 in game two.
DC had five hits in game two, coming off the bats of five different Yellow Jackets. Freshman Jordan Osborne (Deleware/Rutherford B. Hayes), junior Emily Denhard (Troy, Mich. /Kolbe Academy), McAvoy, Patty, and senior Sandra Hubler (Berea) all recorded a hit.
In the circle, freshman Jamie Kimbler (Huber Heights/Wayne) pitched the complete game and was credited with the loss to move to 4-3 on the season. She gave up two runs on five hits and sat down two batters.
The Yellow Jackets return to action on Tuesday, Mar. 29 when they travel to Tiffin, Ohio to face non-conference foe Heidelberg University. The first pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.