Pioneers ousted from OAC tourney

ADA – Marietta College was eliminated from the 2014 Ohio Athletic Conference Softball Tournament Friday. The Pioneers lost their opening game to Muskingum University by the score of 12-11 in eight innings. No. 1 seed Ohio Northern University knocked Marietta, seeded third, from the tournament with an 8-3 decision in the loser’s bracket.

The Pioneers finish the season with an overall record of 21-17. Marietta says goodbye to one senior, outfielder Hannah Tarski. Tarski has been Marietta’s starting centerfielder for the past three seasons.

Things got off to a good start for the Pioneers as Marietta jumped out to an early 3-0 lead against No. 2 seed Muskingum. Shortstop Kelsey Kallenborn crushed a two-run home run in the top of the first inning, while junior Sarah Mayo scored on a wild pitch in the second.

The Fighting Muskies (24-15 overall) battled back to take a 4-3 lead after four innings. Sophomore first baseman Trinity Schlabach put Marietta right back in front when she lined a three-run shot off the scoreboard. The Pioneers added three more in the sixth to lead 9-4. But once again Muskingum answered the bell as third baseman Carissa Johnson hit a three-run homer of her own trimming the Pioneer lead to 9-7.

After plating two runs in the top of the seventh, Marietta lead by four, 11-7, and were three outs from advancing into the winner’s bracket. But Muskingum, who lost twice to Marietta during the regular season, refused to go quietly. Aided by a couple of Marietta miscues, the Muskies scored four times to force the game into extra innings. The big blow was a two-run double off the bat of Kelly Martin.

Marietta managed to get a pair of base runners with two outs in the top of the ninth but couldn’t push any runs across. Alexis O’Hair retired the first two Muskies in the bottom of the inning before issuing a walk to Amber Bova on four straight pitchers. Centerfielder Hannah Reese stepped to the plate and lined an 0-2 pitch to the wall in left-center scoring Bova with the winning run.

Six different Pioneers had multiple hits in the game as Marietta banged out 17 hits. Cierra Bloom finished 3-for-4. Courtney Kerwood, Brittany Curry, Kallenborn, Schlabach, and Brianna Finck each had two hits for Marietta.

O’Hair took the loss pitching 7.2 innings. She gave up 12 runs, nine earned, on 15 base hits. O’hair walked three and struck out three.

Marietta came back to face ONU in the fourth game of the day.

The Polar Bears lost to John Carroll University, 14-13, in their first game. John Carroll scored eight runs in the top of the seventh to come from behind and beat the Polar Bears.

Featuring the top offense in the OAC, Ohio Northern came out swinging against the Pioneers. The Polar Bears scored in each of their first four at bats and led 6-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. Adriana Sikora set the tone with a solo home run to lead off the game.

O’Hair (11-9) started in the circle for the Pioneers and threw 3.2 innings before exiting. O’Hair was charged with six runs on 11 hits. Kerwood pitched the final 3.1 innings and allowed two runs on a pair of base hits.

The Pioneers plated a run in the fourth and fifth innings to close the gap to 6-2. Bloom got Marietta on the board with an RBI-single in the fourth, while Schlabach drove in MC’s second run with a double in the fifth.

Ohio Northern went back to the long ball in the seventh. First baseman Jamie Westernkirchner smacked a two-run shot to left pushing the Polar Bear lead back to six runs, 8-2. Marietta managed one in the bottom of the seventh for the final 8-3 margin.

Bloom, Curry and Schlabach each had two hits in the game for Marietta.

Polar Bear freshman Kirsten Burden (8-8), who entered the game with an ERA over 5.00, tossed the complete game for the win. Burden gave up 10 hits while striking out seven Pioneers. She issued two walks.