By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
East Lansing, Mich.---Aubrey Geis (Toledo Christian/Wauseon, Ohio) hit a walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning to give the No. 17 Owens Community College softball team a 7-6 win over Kellogg Community College in today's Region XII District G loser's bracket quarterfinals.
However, Owens dropped a 10-1 decision to Muskegon Community College in the loser's bracket semifinals to see their season come to an end.
Loser's Bracket Quarterfinal: Owens 7 Kellogg 6 (Nine Innings)
The game was filled with exciting moments and clutch performances - led by Lesley Ducat (Evergreen/Lyons, Ohio) pitching through an injury to pick up her 21st win. Haley Hudgin (Ida/Ida, Mich.) had a clutch homer, and the Express were down entering the bottom half of the seventh and eighth innings.
The Express offense scored single runs in the first, second and third innings to take a 3-0 lead.
In the first, Brittany George (Elmwood/Wayne, Ohio) singled and later scored on an error for the game's first run. In the second, Emily Morrow (Monroe Jefferson/Newport, Mich.) hit a line drive off the fence in left with the bases loaded to score the second run. Geis was thrown out at home trying to score on the play. Then, in the third, George singled to left and later scored on an RBI groundout by Emily Rockman (Springfield/Holland, Ohio).
Kellogg's offense awoke in fifth inning. They produced two RBI singles and one RBI double to tie the game.
After the Express offense was retired in the top of the fifth, Kellogg's Mary Emington hit a two-run homer to left field to put her team up 5-3.
The Express offense then stranded runners on second and third to end the sixth. That's when Lexi Williams (Home School/Swanton, Ohio) entered to pitch for Ducat. She retired the side in order to give the Express some momentum going into the bottom half.
In the home half, Morrow singled to left center and reached second on an error following the hit. Emily Mutter (Onsted/Manitou Beach, Mich.) then got a pinch hit single through the left side to put runners on the corners. George was then unintentionally, intentionally walked to load the bases. Tori Weidinger (Whitmer/Toledo, Ohio) made Kellogg pay with a bloop single to right field that pulled the Express within one.
Rockman then grounded into a fielder's choice with Mutter getting thrown out at home. Ducat re-entered to hit for Williams and hit a game-tying sacrifice fly to center. Geis grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
Despite her injury, Ducat returned to pitch in the eighth and gave up a two-out solo homer to center by Emington. No worries, though, as Hudgin returned the favor on the very first at bat of the next half inning with a solo shot to center.
Following a 1-2-3 ninth by Ducat, which included two strikeouts, Rockman and Ducat opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Geis then delivered the game-winning single through the left side to keep the Express season alive.
Morrow (2-for-4, BB, R, RBI), George (2-for-3, two runs) and Ducat (3-for-4, R, RBI) led the Express offense.
In the circle, Ducat allowed 13 hits, six runs and no walks while striking out nine in her eight innings. She improved to 21-4 this year.
Loser's Bracket Semifinal: Muskegon 10 Owens 1
Muskegon's Meghan Birr went 4-for-5 with four RBIs as the Express lost in a rout to end their season.
Muskegon scored twice in the first off Williams, who started for the Express. Rockman then got a run back in the bottom half on an RBI single up the middle.
Muskegon's Birr had an RBI single to right in the next half inning to stretch the lead. They would add two in the fourth, two in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh while the Express offense managed just six hits against Muskegon's Megan Vanderwal.
Williams allowed 16 hits, 10 runs (seven earned) and two walks over seven. She struck out five while finishing 6-5 this year. Vanderwal allowed just the six hits, along with one run and one walk over six innings. Megan Jean pitched the final inning, which featured a walk by Kendall Murphy (Maumee/Maumee, OH), but nothing else.
Offensively, the Express were led by Morrow (2-for-4) and Rockman (2-for-3, RBI). Weidinger and Ashtin Staler (Swanton/Swanton, Ohio) picked up the other two hits.
The Express finished the season 27-9 overall.
George is now the single season batting average record holder for Owens softball. The freshman finished 56-for-102 (.549) to break the old record of .541 by Kylie Zweifel in 2006. George also finished with team-highs in runs (48), doubles (16), hits (56), triples (3), homers (10), walks (17), on base percentage (.607) and slugging percentage (1.059).
In fact, with her 1.059 slugging percentage, she becomes the first player in program history to slug over 1.000 in a season and thus is the new single season record holder.
Weidinger also tied for the team-high in home runs with 10, while Rockman added eight to finish with 13 for her career. As a team, the Express hit 38 homers.
Morrow led the team with 16 stolen bases.
Ducat finished 21-4 with a 3.06 ERA. In 144.1 innings, she allowed 165 hits, threw 17 complete games and struck out 143.