Hall of Fame baseball player George Brett famously said that “losing was as pleasant as kissing your grandmother with her teeth out.” After 23 consecutive conference losses and a 1-29 start to the season, a win had to be a welcome sight for the Goshen College softball team.
Even sandwiched by three losses in 28 hours, a win is a win – and a win is what the Maple Leafs got Saturday in Winona Lake.
The Leafs began their Crossroads League twin bill auspiciously if ineffectively – shortstop Sam Langley, a junior, singled in the first but was left on base.
Another single from Kourtney Mueller, a sophomore, and a walk drawn by Krista Sutliff, a first-year, represented two more offensive chances squandered in the second. But as long as Goshen held Grace scoreless, which they did, the game was no worse than tied.
Goshen’s breakthrough came in the fourth.
Jessica Reed, a senior, who scattered eight hits and struck out 11 on the mound, was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Successive doubles from Miranda Robles, a first-year, and Mueller each scored the runner in front of them; after Sutliff infield single put runners on the corners, Grace called to the bullpen. A strikeout and a double play pulled the Lancers out of the inning trailing just 2-0.
Grace had one of its better chances to tie in the fourth inning; with a runner on second and one out, the runner was called out for leaving the base early. The next batter doubled, which would have brought in a run and left the tying run in scoring position; in fact, Grace never again advanced the tying run past first base. A solo home run in the bottom of the seventh cut the lead to 2-1, but Reed struck out the next two batters to end the game.
In the nightcap, the Lancers led off the first inning with a triple and never looked back, staking themselves to a 4-0 lead after the first frame and 6-0 after three.
Three singles and a fielder’s choice brought Goshen a run in the fourth, but Grace strung together three hits and two walks in the fifth to extend their advantage to 9-1 and end the game by the mercy rule.
While the Leafs tallied seven hits, no player had more than one. Melanie Meyer, a junior, and Morgan Chilton, a sophomore, each had one of Goshen’s two doubles.
The doubleheader split, which came on the heels of being swept by Taylor Friday afternoon, puts Goshen at 2-30 on the season and 1-21 in Crossroads League play. The Leafs’ remaining schedule consists of seven doubleheaders, five of which are at home and six of which constitute conference play.
After a Wednesday twin bill against Indiana Wesleyan, which finished too late for inclusion in this issue, the Leafs host Bethel on Thursday, Spring Arbor on Friday, and Huntington and Marian next week. At press time, with fourteen games left in the season, Goshen sat nine games behind Spring Arbor for the eighth and final spot in the Crossroads League tournament.