YORK, PA – The York College softball squad concluded their 2015 season with a non-conference sweep of Albright College on a brilliantly sunny Wednesday afternoon in York. The Spartans captured a 2-1 walk off win in the opener and completed the sweep with a 7-5 victory in the nightcap.
The Spartans finish the season with a mark of 23-19 as they made a nine-game improvement in the win column over the 2014 season. Albright finishes their season with a record of 19-16.
Prior to the game, the Spartans recognized their lone senior, catcher Vanessa Mendez (Lititz, Pa./Warwick). Little would anyone know what a huge role the senior would play in earning the Spartans a pair of wins in her final collegiate contests.
In game one, Lion starter Sammi O'Connor was unhittable through the first six innings of play. She hit one Spartan in the first inning and again in the sixth as O'Connor retired 18 of 20 Spartans through the first six innings of play.
The seventh inning started off with a base hit to center from Mendez. Mendez advanced to second on a fielding error after the base hit. Katie Maloney (Aston, Pa./Sun Valley) moved Mendez to third with a beautifully placed sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Carleigh Ruleman (Owings, Md./Northern) then plated Mendez with rocket double to deep right. Megan Martin (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) drew a walk before O'Connor got a strikeout for the second out of the inning. O'Connor fell behind Emily Glatts (Brookhaven, Pa./Padua Academy) 1-0 and the freshman served the next pitch into center for the walk-off winner.
Courtney Martin (Willow Street, Pa./Lampeter-Strasburg) earned the win as she was very good in the final start of her freshman year. Martin allowed one run on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk in her seven innings of work. She improved to 17-14 with the victory.
O'Connor was the hard luck loser as she allowed two runs on three hits, all in the bottom of the seventh inning. She struck out 10 and walked one in her 6.2 innings of work. She falls to 13-11 with the loss.
Mendez, Ruleman, and Glatts had the lone hits for the Spartans with Ruleman and Glatts picking up the RBIs.
O'Connor went 1-for-3 with the Lions' lone RBI. Zoe Robertson added two hits and a run scored for Albright. Kaela Romano, Regina Milburn, and Armida Roman each added a hit to the Albright offensive effort.
In game two, the Lions jumped on Spartan starter Melissa Jurkiewicz (Oak Ridge, N.J./Jefferson Township) for two hits in the opening inning. Fortunately for York, a pair of questionable base running decisions allowed for York to get a pair of outs on the base paths as they kept the Lions off the board.
York wasn't as fortunate in the second as Roman jacked a solo shot to right to put Albright up 1-0.
The Spartans responded in their half of the second as Megan Martin walked and Miranda Shandy (Bowie, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) ripped a two-run dinger to deep left field as York took the 2-1 lead through two.
The Spartans built on their lead with a big bottom of the third inning as the Green and White plated four runs. It should have been more as Shandy hit a ball off the foul pole in left field with the bases loaded. However, the umpires did not see the ball hit the screened portion of the pole and Shandy only got credit for an RBI single. York ultimately got a four spot as they batted around to take a 6-1 lead.
The Lions had another threat short-circuited by poor base running in the fourth. After a pair of hits put runners at second and third with no outs, Jurkiewicz got a ground out to short. She then got a ground out back to the mound. The runner at third held and the runner at second took off for third. After York got the out at first they got the runner heading home from third for the third out of the inning.
York pushed the lead to 7-1 on a Ruleman sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth.
Roman cut into the Spartan lead in the top of the sixth as she stroked her second home run of the day, this time a two run shot to right field. The home run was nearly identical to where she hit her first one in the second inning.
The Lions made things interesting in the seventh as they plated a pair of runs aided by a pair of Spartan errors in the frame.
Jurkiewicz earned the win as she went five innings, allowing one run on seven hits with one strikeout on 48 pitches. She concludes her freshman year with a record of 6-5. Courtney Martin threw two innings in relief and she allowed four runs, two earned, on four hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Riley Gerenda suffered the loss as she allowed six runs, five earned, on six hits in 2.1 innings of action. She struck out three and walked two. O'Connor tossed the final 3.2 innings of the game for Albright. She allowed on run on three hits with one strikeout.
Mendez was fantastic in her final collegiate game as she went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Maloney added two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Shandy finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Her line should have read 2-for-3 with six RBI and two runs scored but the missed call robbed her of three RBI and the run scored. Ruleman added a hit, a run and an RBI in the victory.
Roman was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored to lead the Lions. Milburn and Romano each had a pair of hits while they also scored once for Albright. Hannah Belair chipped in a pair of knocks for the Lions.
The Spartans will say goodbye to Mendez but will return their core of young players, as York will have high expectations heading into the 2016 season.