HANOVER, IND. – Despite a grand slam from sophomore Kaity Kuhn (Celina) in game one, the Defiance College softball team couldn't overcome the deficit and lost both games of a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader against Hanover (Ind.) College in Hanover, Ind.
Hanover (8-11, 3-3 HCAC) struck first in game one, after a four-run first inning, to take an early 4-0 lead over Defiance (10-14, 1-3 HCAC). After three scoreless innings from both teams, with the bases loaded, Kuhn broke the stalemate to even the score to 4-4 after hitting her first career home run and first grand slam for the Yellow Jackets this season.
The Panthers answered with a two-run home run themselves in the bottom of the fifth to regain the 6-4 lead. Hanover added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to extend their lead to 9-4.
The Yellow Jackets were looking to rally in the top of the seventh and was able to add two runs, but the rally came up short as DC fell to Hanover by a score of 9-6.
The Purple and Gold tallied nine hits, coming off the bats of six different Yellow Jackets. Junior Emily Denhard (Troy, Mich. /Kolbe Academy), Kuhn, and junior Megan Warren (Mason) all recorded a multi-hit game.
In the circle, sophomore Sarah Kaya (Lorain/Clearview) got the start and was credited with the loss after allowing six runs on 11 hits in five innings pitched. Sophomore Sydni Smith (Jackson, Mich. /Lumen Christi) pitched one inning of relief and allowed three runs off of five hits.
The score remained deadlocked at zero in game two until Defiance was able to score a run in the top of the fourth after senior Makayla McAvoy (Mt. Gilead) hit into a RBI-ground out that allowed Kuhn to cross homeplate. The Panthers evened the score in the bottom of the inning, however, evening the score at 1-1.
The Yellow Jackets took a 2-1 lead in the sixth after an error by the defense that allowed Denhard to score. The bottom of the sixth proved to be the game-changer as the Panthers took the lead thanks to a four-run inning.
Sophomore Haley Patty (Bradford) started the seventh with a solo home run, to make the score 5-3. But that would be the final run of the game for DC as the Jackets couldn't stir anything else up offensively and fell to the Panthers by a score of 5-3 in game two.
DC had seven hits coming from seven different Yellow Jackets. At pitcher, freshman Jamie Kimbler (Huber Heights/Wayne) started the game and pitched five and one-third innings. She allowed four runs off of seven hits and sat down one batter. Kaya came in for two-thirds of an inning for relief and allowed run one off of two hits.
The Yellow Jackets will look to snap the losing skid when they host HCAC rival Bluffton University on Tuesday, Apr. 12 at Sal Hench Field. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.