Spartans Split Home Opener with Susquehannna

Spartans Split Home Opener with Susquehannna

YORK, PA – The York College softball squad finally made their 2009 home debut but the Susquehanna Crusaders made the results mixed as the Spartans and Crusaders split the twin bill on a pleasant Tuesday afternoon in York. The Crusaders posted a come-from-behind 5-4 victory in eight innings in the opener while the Spartans captured the nightcap, 7-4. The Spartans are now 14-6 overall while the Crusaders are 5-5.

In the opener, the Spartans got on the board first with a single run in the bottom of the second courtesy of a Kelly Smith (Riverdale, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) RBI infield single.

The Crusaders finally reached Spartan starter Brittany Therres (Hughesville, Md./Thomas Stone) in the fourth. Therres set the first nine hitters down in order before the Crusaders opened the fourth with three hits in their first four batters of the frame. After giving up an RBI single to Laurie Blaszka, Therres got the final two outs of the inning to preserve the tie.

The Spartans got that run back with one swing of the bat as Smith tripled and scored when the relay throw got by the third baseman for an error. York increased the lead to 3-1 in the fifth as Sam Lawrence (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) walked, stole second and scored on a Michelle Barwick (Cockeysville, Md./Dulaney) single to right center.

The Crusaders looked like they were going to drop the opener before the top of the seventh. They began the frame with an infield single. After fielder’s choice for the first out, pinch hitter Shelley Landis jacked a two-run homer, a line drive screamer that just cleared the wall in left center, tying the game at three with the Spartans just two outs away from victory.

York couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the seventh as the teams headed to extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Kim Rubino drilled a double to deep center, plating two runs to give the Crusaders a 5-3 lead.  Therres got the final two outs of the inning to keep the Spartans in the game.

York looked like they were in great shape in the bottom of the eighth as they got runners on second and third with no outs. Smith squeezed home the first run for the RBI but pinch runner Kelly Morrow (Olney, Md./Sherwood) made a base running mistake as she tried to score from second on the throw to first but she was gunned down at the plate, erasing the tying run from the base paths for the Spartans.

Cara Swerdlow earned the win as she tossed eight innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on six hits with seven strikeouts and six walks. She improves to 4-2 with the victory.  Therres suffered the loss as she allowed five runs, four earned, on nine hits with six strikeouts and no walks. She falls to 7-3 with the setback.

Gretchen Halsey led the Crusader offense as she was 3-for-4 with a run scored. Rubino was 1-for-4 with a pair of RBI while Landis was 1-for-1 with two RBI and a run scored.

Smith led York as the sophomore preseason All-American was 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Barwick was 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. The Spartans were limited to just six hits in the game but they did coax out six walks in the game as they left 11 runners stranded in the game.

In the nightcap, the Spartans scored single runs in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead. The Crusaders answered with a pair of their own in the top of the third to tie the game at two.

The Spartans took the lead for good in the bottom of the third as Sam Koehl (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) jacked a no-doubt-about-it home run to deep left center field. The tater is her team-leading fourth of the year and is one of the longer shots hit in the history of Spartan Stadium.

York added three runs on five hits in the bottom of the fourth to increase the lead to 6-2. Kristen Gray (Mickleton, N.J./Kingsway Regional) had a two-run double in the inning while Julie Norris (Frederick, Md./Frederick) had an RBI single of her own in the frame.

The Crusaders cut their deficit to 6-4 with a two-spot in the fifth but York closed out the scoring with an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth.

Koehl, in addition to her offensive heroics, earned the win in the circle as she tossed seven innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on seven hits. She walked one and struck out six as she improves to 7-3 overall.

Rubino started for the Crusaders and threw the first inning. She was then relieved by Halsey who tossed 2.2 innings before Rubino came back into the game. Halsey suffered the loss as she allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks in 2.2 innings of action. Rubino threw a combined 3.1 innings as she allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits with a strikeout and a walk.

Gray and Caitlin Keppler (Owings, Md./Northern) each banged out three hits to lead the Green and White. Gray was 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored while Keppler was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Smith added a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored while Koehl was 1-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Lisa Finizio had two of the Crusaders’ seven hits. She scored twice and drove in another. Kelli Holota was 1-for-3 with an RBI while Blaszka was 1-for-3 with a run scored.

The Spartans return to action on Thursday afternoon as they host Dickinson College in a non-conference doubleheader. Game one is slated to begin at 3:00 pm at Spartan Stadium.