TUCSON, Ariz. – Without having had a full practice outside, the HU softball team packed up for spring break and headed to Arizona for the Tucson Invitational Games where they posted five wins against four losses.
Marcie McDougle pitched a no-hitter top open up play on Sunday against Mayville State to guide her team to an 8-0 win. The senior hurler struck out three of the 15 batters she faced.
She had plenty of support from her teammates as Huntington logged eight hits on the day which included Lindsay Shellabarger’s solo shot in the fourth. Shellabarger finished with two hits and three RBI to pace the Foresters offensively. Kaitlyn Troyer added a hit and two RBI as HU posted runs in all but the first inning to make quick work of the Comets.
It was a slugfest later that day against a talented Valley City State squad. The Foresters outhit the Vikings 17-13 but came up short on the scoreboard 10-9. Kaylin Yon was charged with the loss. In 2.1 innings on the mound, she gave up seven hits, three runs and one walk.
It was a battle of the wills. After falling behind 2-0 early in the contest, HU stormed back to take a 7-5 lead after five innings of play. Valley City exploded for five runs in the sixth to reclaim the lead at 10-7 but Huntington didn’t go down without a fight. With two outs in the seventh, Shellabarger tripled in two runs to pull her team within one at 10-9 but they would get no closer.
Annie Weaver was a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate. She scored three runs and drove in two more. Bess Fiechter pounded out three hits and an RBI while Katie DePew and Shellabarger each finished with two hits and just as many RBI.
Ariel Sheets was sensational on the mound Monday against Mount Marty (SD). The South Bend native pitched a perfect game, retiring seven of the 15 batters she faced in HU’s 8-0 win over the Lancers.
After scoring a run in the first, the Foresters sent 11 batters to the plate in their second at-bats to explode for six runs and blow the game wide open. HU went on to touch home once more time in the third to finish with eight runs, six of which were earned. Weaver, Shellabarger and Fiechter each posted a pair of hits. Shellabarger also tacked on three RBI while Weaver, DePew and Katie Knous each drove in a run.
Later that day, Huntington met their match in Doane College (NE). It was a game in which the Tigers never trailed as they took an early 1-0 lead after the first and then tallied runs in the sixth and seventh to hold off the Foresters for a 3-1 win. HU’s lone run came in the bottom of the sixth with a little help from the Doane pitching staff. With bases loaded, Emily O’Leary cruised home from third after Natalie McGuire was hit by a pitch.
Cristin Carter was 2-for-3 at the plate to pace Huntington. HU scattered eight hits but struggled to string together much offense as they left ten batters stranded. Emily Puterbaugh took the loss in the circle. She gave up seven hits and three runs while striking out five in seven innings of work.
Playing in their third game of the day on Monday, the Foresters’ offense continued to struggle as they lost a 4-1 decision to the University of British Columbia. Fiechter knocked in Huntington’s only run in the top of the second to knot things up at 1-1. The stalemate held until the fourth when the Thunderbirds struck for three runs. It proved to be more than enough as HU’s bats were quiet the rest of night.
Offensively, Shellabarger tallied two of HU’s six hits. Marcie McDougle was charged with the loss, giving up eight hits, four runs, three of which were earned, and two walks while striking out two.
HU’s skid continued into Tuesday as they dropped an 8-7 decision to Avila University (MO) to make for a three-game losing streak. Sheets took the loss for HU. She relieved Yon and pitched the final 5.1 innings where she gave up nine hits, five runs and five walks while striking out three.
Errors plagued both teams as six of the game’s 15 runs were of the unearned variety. HU gave up two unearned runs while Avila errors accounted for four of HU’s runs.
Weaver and DePew tallied seven of HU’s 13 hits as they registered four and three hits respectively. They each also drove in two runs.
Huntington got back on track later that day when they faced Mayville State for the second time in three days. They showed no mercy, crushing the Comets 17-2. The Foresters went 19-for-36 at the plate as a team to make for the lopsided win.
Leading the way offensively was Caylan DeLucia who struck for three hits and four RBI. DePew also pounded out three hits and an RBI while Shellabarger hammered out two hits to go along with three RBI. Emily O’Leary drove in four runs while three other Foresters posted two hits apiece.
Lea Buckenmyer notched her first collegiate win. She started for HU and scattered eight hits and two runs over four innings before Yon pitched an inning of scoreless relief.
HU continued their winning ways on Wednesday by outlasting Oklahoma Baptist 6-3. Puterbaugh picked up the complete-game win as she allowed just six hits, three runs, only one of which was earned, and a walk while striking out nine.
Trailing 3-1 after the first five innings, the Foresters mounted an impressive comeback by scoring five runs in the final two innings to extend their win-streak to two.
The top of the order accounted for most of HU’s offense with Weaver and DePew each scoring two runs and pounding out three hits while Shellabarger posted two hits and an RBI as clean-up. O’Leary and Knous each drove in a run as only three of HU’s runs were earned.
The Foresters capped off their time in the Southwest on a high note with a come-from-behind win over Dickinson State 7-6 on Wednesday.
It was a see-saw affair through the first five innings as each team took a lead before heading into the seventh in a 4-4 deadlock. The Blue Hawks pieced together two runs in the top of the seventh to surge ahead 6-4 but the Foresters stepped up to the challenge in their half of the frame to rally past Dickinson for the win.
Weaver and DeLucia jump-started the rally with a pair of singles. Shellabarger singled in Weaver and then O’Leary unleashed for a walk-off double for the win.
McDougle picked up her second win of the week. She went the distance and gave up 12 hits and six runs, four earned, while striking out three.
DePew topped HU with two hits and two RBI while Weaver and DeLucia also finished with two hits apiece. Carter and Shellabarger added run-scoring hits.
The Foresters now dive into conference action to face Indiana Wesleyan on Friday and Mount Vernon on Saturday.