Softball’s playoff hopes fall short

April 26th, 2007

It is rare for a team chasing a playoff spot to have the opportunity to play the team that holds the very spot they are chasing.

This past weekend John Carroll University’s softball team had the opportunity to take over Mount Union’s spot in the standings. However, JCU was swept by Mount Union.

Now JCU cannot sneak into the final playoff spot in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

Entering their Monday doubleheader with Mount Union, JCU was in sixth place with a record of 7-7 in the OAC. Directly ahead of them, with a record of 9-7, was Mount Union. With a pair of victories JCU could vault to fifth in the OAC while holding the head-to-head tie breaker over Mount Union.

While JCU hung around until the fourth inning, Mount Union left no doubt with their 6-0 victory over JCU in the first game.

JCU mustered five hits in the game, but couldn’t manufacture any runs from the players they had in position. Mount Union junior pitcher Lindsey Royer, pitched the complete game, recording seven strikeouts in the shutout.

“We were let down by missing the playoffs but we know we didn’t play poorly,” junior Kelly D’Amato said of JCU’s effort.

In the nightcap, JCU held a 3-0 before the wheels fell off the wagon. Mount Union scored in every inning starting in the third; running up 12 runs on JCU.

Junior Staci Ziobert started the scoring with an RBI single in the first inning. Freshman Samantha Thompson’s 2 RBI double put JCU out in front 3-0.

After grabbing two more runs via errors in the fourth inning, JCU would not add anymore to the scoreboard for the duration of the game.

Mount Union would tie the game in the fifth inning, but would finish the sweep in the sixth inning, putting together a seven run inning.

Again Mount Union’s Royer would hurt JCU, this time with a three run home run that added to the two runs Mount Union already brought in.

The sweep resulted in a four game swing for JCU. Rather than be tied with Mount Union, JCU now trails by four games and are officially out of the playoffs.

In addition, JCU only has a one game lead over Otterbein.

Had JCU earned two victories they would have a secure grasp on where they stand in the OAC. Now, JCU has a chance to drop to seventh, three spots out of the basement.

JCU did manage a sweep of Wilmington on Saturday, beating the Quakers 9-1 and 6-3.

The first game was much closer than the score showed. JCU trailed 1-0 until the fifth inning when senior Betsy Rafferty drove in the tying run. Then JCU put together an eight run sixth inning, before the run rule was enacted.

“We were frustrated with how we started,” D’Amato said, “we knew that we were the stronger team and we came together and proved that.”

JCU started hot in the second game, putting two runs on the board in the first inning. Getting runs off hits by senior Alisha Zapor and Thompson.

After surrendering the lead, JCU battled back to take a 5-3 lead after Thompson drove in her second RBI and freshman Laura Boselovic’s RBI single. Marlowe would drive in D’Amato for JCU’s final run.

Although JCU will miss out on the playoffs, they still have a positive outlook on the remainder of the season.

“We want to finish strong for our seniors,” D’Amato said. “A good finish will give us something to carry into next season.”

JCU’s final home game is Saturday against Marietta and they close the season at Case Western next Wednesday.