YORK, PA – The York College softball team closed out their 2009 home campaign with a pair of one-run losses to Messiah College on a sun-splashed Friday afternoon in York. The Falcons took game one 1-0 before completing the sweep with a 4-3 decision in the nightcap.
Messiah improves to 30-4 overall while the Spartans now stand at 27-14.
The Falcons got all they needed in game one as Abi Buchler laced an RBI single to center, plating Abby Bergakker in the top of the second.
That would be enough for Falcon starter Jessica Rhoads as she handcuffed the Spartans throughout game one. Rhoads, who entered the contest with an ERA of 0.43, did nothing but lower that ERA as she twirled her ninth shutout of the year. She scattered two hits and struck out 15 while she did not walk a batter. Rhoads improves to 18-1 with the win.
Spartan starter Brittany Therres (Hughesville, Md./Thomas Stone) was brilliant in defeat. She allowed just one the one run on eighth hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Therres, who leads the nation in walks per nine innings, falls to 13-8 with the hard-luck loss. Therres got herself out of a few jams and the fact that she allowed just one run, a testament to her ability to pitch under pressure. She stranded 10 Falcons in the game
Jaclyn Merkel led the Falcon offense as she was 2-for-4 while Buchler was 1-for-4 with an RBI. Bergakker was 1-for-2 as she scored the game’s lone run.
Megan Van Meter (Hanover, Md./Archbishop Spalding) and Kelly Smith (Riverdale, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) each had a hit for the Spartans. Smith’s seventh inning single up the middle gave her the new single-season hits record as she now has 60 base hits, breaking teammate Heather Bormann’s (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial) record that was established last year.
In the nightcap, the Falcons got on the board first with two runs in the top of the third inning.
Messiah pushed the lead to 3-0 in the top of the sixth on a
Nicole Adams RBI single to left.
Messiah increased the lead to 4-0 in the top of the seventh as Merkel laced an RBI double to center. That run would prove to be big in the bottom of the seventh.
The Spartans put together their first sustained offensive attack of the day in the bottom of the seventh. Freshman Caitlin Keppler (Owings, Md./Northern) tripled to right field to open the inning. Van Meter then singled in Keppler as she lifted a soft liner over the shortstop’s head. After a fielder’s choice erased pinch runner Karen Carr (Baltimore, Md./Lansdowne) at second and a Spartan strikeout, Lindsay Wood (Owings, Md./Northern) stroked a single up the middle to put Spartans at first and second with two outs. Messiah starter Megan Rice uncorked a wild pitch to move each Spartan up 60 feet. Michelle Barwick (Cockeysville, Md./Dulaney) then brought the Spartans to within a run as she punched a single into right field, scoring Therres and Wood. Messiah then brought Rhoads into the game. She closed out the game in five pitches to record her fifth save of the year.
Rice earned the win as she improves to 11-1 as she allowed three runs on six hits in 6.2 innings of work. She struck out one and walked one before giving way to Rhoads.
Sam Koehl (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) took the loss as she allowed four runs on 12 hits in her 6.1 innings of work. Koehl struck out two as she falls to 14-6 for the season. Therres got the final two outs of the seventh inning including one on strikes.
Merkel led the Falcon offense as she was 3-for-4 with two RBI including her 12th double of the year. Adams and Lauren Seneca each added two hits. Seneca scored a run while Adams had an RBI. Rebekkah Funk scored a pair of runs for the Falcons.
Wood was the only Spartan with multiple hits as she was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Van Meter was 1-for-3 with an RBI while Barwick was 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI.
The Spartans close out their 2009 regular season with a pair of doubleheaders on the road. York travels to DeSales on Sunday for a twin bill and then close out the season on Monday with a trip to Juniata.
Photo: Kelly Smith set a new single season mark with her game one seventh inning single up the middle.