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HU softball knocked out of Crossroads League Tourney

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Things didn’t go as planned for the 4th-seeded HU softball team as they made an early exit from the Crossroads League Tournament Wednesday afternoon. After suffering a disappointing 5-1 decision to 5th-seeded Grace College, the Foresters lasted 11 innings against 8th-seeded Spring Arbor University before suffering a 7-6 loss in an elimination game to bring an end to their otherwise successful season.  

The Foresters wrap up the year with an overall record of 29-18-1.  

Against the Lancers, Huntington struggled through the first five innings to find themselves in a 3-0 hole. Not only were their bats quiet, but they also committed two costly errors that resulted in two unearned runs.  

HU finally found home in the sixth with plenty of help from the Lancers but it was too little too late. After back-to-back walks and a groundout that moved both runners into scoring position, an infield error allowed one run to score. It pulled the Foresters within two at 3-1 but Grace would go on to touch home twice in the seventh to balloon the lead to 5-1. Their advantage stood as HU’s only offense in the bottom of the frame was Karley Blankenship’s single into left.  

Lairen Miller took the loss for HU giving up eight hits, five runs, three of which were earned, and a walk while striking out three.

Game two had a similar feel in that Huntington got off to a slow start. After five scoreless innings, Camille Furrow finally got her team on the board with a solo shot over the left field fence, her fifth homer of the year. Her dinger knotted things up at 1-1 but SAU responded in their half of the frame to score twice to reclaim the lead at 3-1 heading into the seventh.

It was do or die for the gritty Foresters and they responded. Blankenship led off with a triple down the left field line before coming home on Casey Lehman’s RBI-single. A SAU error landed Audra Klopfenstein on base and after stealing second, she and Lehman scored on Miller’s single through the right side for the go ahead at 4-3.

The Foresters were three outs from a dramatic come-from-behind win but the Cougars had other plans as they manufactured a run in their half the frame to extend the game to extra innings. Little did anyone suspect, the game was far from over.

After a scoreless eighth, the Foresters came up with some big hits in the ninth to piece together another impressive rally for a two-run advantage of 6-4. Natalie McGuire and Lehman opened up with a double and single respectively and then both made their way home on Klopfenstein’s two-run single through the hole at second.  

Once again, SAU had an answer. They combined timely hitting and a Forester error to plate two unearned runs and keep their upset hopes alive. Two innings later, that hope became reality as a walk-off single by Savannah Weaver in the 11th brought the game to a screeching halt.

Miller was charged with her second loss of the day. Furrow tossed the first six innings, giving up nine hits, four runs and two walks while striking out one before being relieved by Miller who surrendered six hits, three runs, only one of which was earned, and two walks in 4.1 innings on the mound.

HU finished with 14 hits with Lehman posting four of them and an RBI while Miller recorded three hits and two RBI. Marty Harris added a pair of hits while Klopfenstein drove in that many runs.

For Spring Arbor, today’s win was their first win over Gower’s squad this season as the Foresters swept the Cougars 4-0 in regular season action.

The Huntington University Foresters compete in 17 intercollegiate sports for men and women. In the past decade, Huntington has produced 38 NAIA All-America honors and 254 All-America Scholar Athlete honors. Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest.