MARION, Ind. - With Monday’s series sweep over the Wildcats of Indiana Wesleyan University, the Forester softball team (20-16, 10-8) clinched the No. 3 seed in the Crossroads League tournament slated to start on Wednesday.
It was a must-win situation for HU in order to steal the 3rd spot as they were two games back from Saint Francis and one game behind both IWU and Grace. Things fell into place for Huntington as their two wins yesterday jumped them in front of the Wildcats and Lancers.
The Foresters then had a little help from Bethel who swept USF to drop them to 10-8 in conference play, the same record as HU. Since Huntington beat the Cougars twice when they went head-to-head earlier this season, the Foresters earned the higher seed.
Emily Puterbaugh (6-4) was sensational on the mound in game one, holding the Wildcats to one hit and one walk while striking out 11 to guide the Foresters to a 6-0 win.
The freshman hurler went the distance, giving up her only hit in the second frame to Marissa French on her way to notching her second shutout of the season.
Her teammates provided plenty of support at the plate, pounding out eight hits behind Katie Bowers’ two-run blast in the fourth, her third homer in as many games. She also scored twice, drew two walks and tallied a pair of RBI to pace her team offensively.
Cristin Carter and Emily O’Leary added two hits apiece, both hammering out a double.
The Foresters posted all six of its runs in innings two, three and four. After O’Leary opened up the second with a lead-off double, Kaitlyn Troyer eventually knocked her in with a sacrifice bunt to get her team on the board.
The third framed proved to be HU’s most productive inning. Cristin Carter took full advantage of some pitching woes to plate HU’s second run. After singling up the middle, she made her way to the other corner by way of a wild pitch and passed ball before stealing home on a well-executed double steal. The Foresters went on to find home two more times thanks to an O’Leary RBI-groundout and Pazia Speed run-scoring single to push the lead to 4-0.
Bowers’ dinger highlighted the fourth as she extended the lead to six with one mighty swing of the bat.
The nightcap was a lopsided affair as Huntington cranked out 13 hits and took advantage of six Wildcat errors to blowout their conference foe 13-2.
HU raced out to a 5-0 lead before IWU finally got on the board in the fourth. They closed to within 5-2 but the Foresters manufactured four runs in the fifth and again in the seventh to blow the game wide open and cruise to the win.
Lindsay Shellabarger slugged out a pair of doubles on her way to going 3-for-4 from the plate to pace her team offensively. She also scored a run and drove in another.
Pazia Speed was one of three Foresters to tally two hits which included her first career triple. She also added three RBI and scored twice. Carter and Allison Greene also turned in strong performances, finishing with two hits apiece.
Katie Knous made sure her lone hit was a doozie, a four-bagger in the top of the third. She also collected two RBI, drew a walk and scored three times.
Kaylin Yon earned the win on the mound. She gave up seven hits, two runs and one walk while striking out six in six inning of work. Ariel Sheets pitched the final inning and worked a 1-2-3 frame to call it quits.
HU will face 6th-seeded Grace College at noon on Wednesday in opening round of the tourney.