By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Waterford, MI---April DeCant pitched a stellar nine innings in her collegiate pitching debut, but the No. 17 Express softball team dropped a pair of games to Oakland Community College on the road today.
Game 1: Oakland 4 Owens 1
A fourth inning grand slam from Oakland's Sierra Burke was the difference in today's first game.
Both teams had chances to score over the first three innings, but failed to plate any. In the first, Melanie Iacoangeli singled and stole second, but was stranded on third.
Oakland then stranded the bases loaded in the bottom half against Express starter Katilyn Turski.
In the third, Oakland loaded the bases with nobody out. However, Iacoangeli caught a ball in right and gunned home for a double play before Turski got a 6-3 groundout to end the threat.
In the fourth, the Express committed two errors, which led to the grand slam. All four runs were unearned.
Mareshah Scott scored the lone run for the Express today in the next half inning. She singled, was sacrificed to second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch to pull the Express within three.
Turski allowed two hits and three walks while striking out three over three innings. Gast, who gave up the grand slam in her first inning of work, allowed two hits, four runs (zero earned) and one walk over three innings. She fell to 2-2 this year with the loss.
Samantha Chevillet picked up the complete game win for Oakland. She allowed nine hits, one run and two walks while striking out nine. She improved to 6-1 this year.
Iaoangeli finished 2-for-4 with a stolen base, while Emily Rockman was 2-for-3 to lead the Express offense.
Game 2: Oakland 1 Owens 0 (9 Innings)
DeCant threw a complete game, with her only run scored against coming in the ninth inning - and it was unearned.
The Express offense, meanwhile, was dormant for most of the game. At one point, 13 consecutive batters went down. The produced a total of three hits in the game.
In the third, Oakland produced the game's first major scoring threat, but they stranded the bases loaded.
Jaylee Glad made, perhaps, the play of the day in the sixth inning. With one out and a runner on second, she jumped to catch a ball over the fence in left field to rob what would have been a two-run home run.
In the seventh, Oakland had runners on second and third, but DeCant got a pop out to left center that Scott made a great running play on to end the threat.
Oakland's ninth inning got started with a hit batter and a fielding error at second that put runners on first and second with nobody out. After a sacrifice bunt, DeCant got an infield pop out to first base. The next batter, though, Maggie Irvin laid down a perfect bunt to the right of the circle on the first pitch to plate the winning run.
The best scoring opportunity for the Express was in the fourth when Reeder doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on an error with no outs. However, Hannah Shank and Rockman struck out, while Katie Butler lined out to left to end the threat.
The Express offense was retired in order five times in the second game. They struck out 12 times.
Reeder picked up two of her team's three hits as she finished 2-for-4, while Rockman had the other hit. As a team, the Express finished 3-for-30 with one walk.
Allie Riglin (4-4), who hit the ball that Glad robbed in left, picked up the complete game win for Oakland.
DeCant (0-1), meanwhile, scattered eight hits and two walks over 8.2 plus innings.
DeCant, a sophomore, normally plays second base for the Express.
Iacoangeli's stolen base was her 45th of the season.
With the losses, the Express fell to 20-14 overall this year, while Oakland improved to 22-17 overall. The two teams split their season series.
The Express will close out their regular season tomorrow at home vs Lakeland Community College beginning at 3:30 p.m. A lot is on the line for the Express as they need to sweep in order to earn a share of the OCCAC championship along with Cuyahoga Community College.
Should the Express win both, they would also clinch the #1 overall seed in the upcoming district tournament.