By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, OH---Emily Rockman and Amanda Sinay had great peformances from the plate today, but the No. 17 Express softball team fell just short in their attempt to gain a share of the OCCAC title with a DH split vs Lakeland Community College.
The Express needed to sweep today's doubleheader in order to gain a share of the title with Cuyahoga Community College, who instead won it outright after having already completed their games this year. It is the first time the Express haven't won or shared the title since the 2007 season.
Game 1: Owens 5 Lakeland 2
A first inning baserunning error by Lakeland swung momentum towards the Express as they eventually scored five unanswered runs to take today's first game.
Express starter Katilyn Turski had already given up two runs when Lakeland's Skylar Lund doubled to center field with two outs, allowing Aubrey Szalay to score and make it 3-0. However, it was ruled that Szalay missed second base on her trek from first base and the inning ended.
Jaylee Glad then helped the Express tie it up as she picked up RBI singles in the second and fourth innings to make it 2-2.
In the fifth, Katie Butler's squeeze bunt scored Rockman from third to give the Express a 3-2 lead.
While Turski continued to hold Lakeland's offense down, her teammates put together a two-out, nobody on, two-run rally in the sixth to stretch the lead to three.
In the seventh, Turski allowed a one-out single, but struck out the side to give the Express the victory.
Sinay finished 3-for-4 with a run and a stolen base, while Mareshah Scott (2-for-3, run) and Glad (2-for-3, two RBIs) also contributed to the Express offense.
Szalay led the Lakeland offense with a 2-for-3, one RBI performance.
After allowing four hits in the first, Turski only allowed four hits the final six innings. Her final line totaled eight hits, two runs, zero walks and five strikeouts. She improved to 17-6 with the victory.
Meanwhile, Lakeland's Kara Fitzgerald took the loss and fell to 6-9. She allowed 13 hits, five runs and one walk while striking out two over six innings.
Game 2: Lakeland 9 Owens 8
The Express pitching staff allowed 18 hits and the Express defense committed three errors while the Express offense had three runners thrown out at the plate and stranded the tying run at third to end a tough loss in the second game.
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first via RBI singles from Rockman and Butler, Turski allowed six runs (four earned) in the next half inning.
April DeCant relieved Turski with four runs in and two on. She helped calm the storm, but both runners scored.
The Express got two runs back in the bottom half on RBI singles from Rockman and Reeder, but they stranded runners at the corners to end the inning.
There was another scoring opportunity the next inning for the Express, but Alyssa Lassey was thrown out at home on a 9-2 double play to end the inning.
Szalay then singled through the left side off DeCant to give Lakeland a 7-4 lead in the fifth before the Express responded in the bottom half.
Rockman singled and Butler was hit by a pitch to set up a line drive to left field by Molly Gast that deflected off the left fielder's glove for an error to score a run. Scott then got an infield single to load the bases with no outs and the Express down two.
The Express, however, couldn't tie it up. After a pop out from Taylor Miller, Tyniesha Wilson reached on a fielder's choice in which Butler was forced out at home. Iacoangeli then reached on an error, which scored Gast, but Scott was thrown out at home to end the inning with the Express down 7-6.
Lakeland then added what turned out to be two very crucial runs in the sixth with back-to-back RBI singles. Turski re-entered for DeCant during the inning to limit the damage.
After Turski held Lakeland scoreless in the seventh, the Express offense nearly pulled off the comeback from three down. Scott singled with one out and Wilson scored her with an RBI single one out later to make it 9-7.
On the next play, Iacoangeli singled through the right side to move Wilson to third. However, a throwing error allowed Wilson to score and Iacoangeli to advance all the way to third.
The game ended, though, in the next at bat when Reeder popped out to second base.
Rockman led the Express offense at the plate as she finished 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while Sinay (2-for-4, one run, two stolen bases) and Scott (2-for-3, one run) also contributed.
Iacoangeli stole her 46th and 47th bases of the season in the game, as well.
Lakeland's offense was led by Szalay and Aubrey Smithberger. The pair combined to hit 9-for-10 with three runs and one RBI. Their offense finished 18-for-41 at the plate.
Turski took the loss and fell to 17-7 this year, while Morgan Redmond (13-6) got the win for Lakeland. She allowed 13 hits, eight runs (five earned) and zero walks while striking out three over seven innings.
Meanwhile, Turski's final line included 3.1 innings, nine hits, six runs (four earned) and three strikeouts. DeCant's final line included 3.2 innings, nine hits, three runs and one strikeout.
With the split, the Express finish their regular season with a 21-15 record overall and an 8-4 record in OCCAC play.
Additionally, they earned the #2 overall seed in the Region XII tournament at Battle Creek, MI on May 8-10 and will play at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening against an opponent TBA.
Since head coach Duane Lanham took over the program in 2003-04, this year marks only the third time in which his team did not share or win the OCCAC title outright.
With the split today, the Express and Lakeland split their season series.
While Iacoangeli pushed her season stolen base total to 47, Reeder pushed her team-high RBI total to 36.
Three players (Scott - .486, Iacoangeli - .445, and Glad - .419) finish the regular season with a .400 plus batting average, while Rockman and Sinay are close behind at .389.
Sinay is now 17-for-17 in stolen base attempts this season.
Turski made her 30th appearance in today's second game. Nobody else on the team has more than seven. She also has almost four times as many starts as everyone else who has pitched combined.