By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University softball team lost twice to the Student Princes of Heidelberg University on a day that did not have enough sunlight to foster two full games, but featured a total of 19 innings played. Heidelberg defeated Capital, 5-4, in a 12-inning mini-marathon in game one then downed the Crusaders a second time, 8-3, in a game called due to darkness midway through the seventh inning.
GAME 1 - Heidelberg 5, Capital 4 (12 innings)
Capital scored the day's first run in their first at bat when senior Kristen Mellott (Clear Spring, Md./Clear Spring) drove in Morgan Fadel from second via a run-scoring base hit to left field. The lead was short-lived after Heidelberg's Stephanie Drapp tied the game with a run-scoring single, but the threat ended after Fadel pegged her at second attempting to stretch the single into a double.
Both teams remained scoreless until the seventh inning, but both teams equaled one another after scoring three runs to force extra innings. Bailee Faulkner's two-run shot fueled Heidelberg's half of the seventh, but the Crusaders were far from done.
Down three in the home half of the seventh, freshman Haley Grau (Hamilton, Ohio/Ross) came off the bench to pinch hit with two runners on base. Grau then blasted a double to right center field to score both runners and made for a one-run game. Mariah Keller reentered the game to run for Grau but was pegged at the plate trying to score from second on Alyx Slusher's single up the middle. Fadel then stepped to the plate and with one swing tied the game with a double to left field, scoring pinch runner Barrett Littman.
It took an additional five innings to find a winner. Capital stranded seven runners in scoring position in those five innings but at the same time kept the Student Princes off the board in extras until the 12th inning. Relief pitcher Chevonne Hayslett allowed a leadoff walk which came back to haunt the Crusaders. Consecutive singles by Kennedy Conney and Bethany Redman brought Casey Moore around to score the eventual game-winning run.
Capital nearly walked off the field with a win in the home half of the 12th when Hannah Martin launched a fly ball in the left field corner but landed short of the wall. The junior settled for a double, which put runners on second and third with two outs, but Kaitlyn Moore forced Cory Mangen to fly out to center to end the game, 5-4.
GAME 2 - Heidelberg 8, Capital 3 (called after top 7th)
Capital again kicked off the scoring when their first two batters got on base and later scored off of RBI singles by Mellott and Hayslett in the bottom of the first. They added one more run in the fifth to take a 3-0 lead as darkness loomed. Cap's third run came off a single by freshman Lauren Kachure, scoring pinch runner Veronica Zack from second.
In the top of the sixth, Heidelberg rattled off four runs before Cap recorded an out. Brooke Lewis, Stephanie Drapp, Leah Bouillon, and Kat Brady all posted run-scoring base hits in succession to capitalize on an inning that began with a hit batter. The Crusaders managed to stop the bleeding when the pulled off a non-traditional double play in which catcher Brianna Tucker picked up a weak pop up that fell to the infield and got the lead runner at third before a successful double play was turned at second after the runners were frozen by the weak hit.
Cap was unable to return the favor in the home half of the sixth and both teams rushed in an attempt to get one more at bat. With Cap down 4-3, Heidelberg posted four more runs in the top of the seventh behind Lewis' two-run home run and two bases-loaded walks. The game was then called due to darkness before the start of the home half of the seventh.
The pair of losses drops Capital to 7-15, 1-3 in OAC play. They will have a quick turnaround when they take the field again versus Ohio Northern University on Wednesday, April 3 at 3 and 5 p.m. from Clowson Field.