Polar Bears, Lightning Unable to Stop Raiders in OAC Softball Tournament Opener

Bre Willis (Photo by JT Higgins)
Bre Willis (Photo by JT Higgins)

ADA, Ohio—The Mount Union softball team opened the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament with a 6-1 win over No. 24 Ohio Northern that featured a 45-minute lightning delay Friday afternoon in Ada. The Purple Raiders (21-18) have now won seven consecutive games.

Capitalizing on Ohio Northern miscues proved to be the difference for the Raiders.

After being held hitless in the first two innings, the Raiders got on the board first with a pair of hits in the 3rd inning. Brittany Papp (Uniontown/Green) singled up the middle. Kristen Gromes (Navarre/Fairless) then singled down the first base line and an overthrown ball to third allowed Papp to score.

The Polar Bears responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Christin Miller reached base and scored on a triple by Kelly Sheridan. Kimi Blewett followed with a flyout to Gromes, who gunned down Sheridan at the plate to end the inning and remain tied.

Another Ohio Northern error allowed the Raiders to score in the 5th inning. Brenna Longo (Moon, Pa./Moon) singled to begin the inning and moved to second on a sac bunt by Kaylah Nieschwitz (Canton/St. Thomas Aquinas) before advancing to third on a wild pitch. The Polar Bears appeared to get out of the inning on a Julie Olbrych (Youngstown/Boardman) grounder to third, but a throwing error at first allowed Longo to score the go-ahead run.

Amy Brown (Uniontown/Lake) singled to begin the 6th inning. Following a sac bunt by Leigh Siedlak (Westerville/Westerville South), Shelby Carmichael (Dalton/Dalton) singled to drive in Keilah Capriola (Akron/Coventry), who pinch-ran for Brown.

With one out in the top of the 7th, the game was delayed due to lightning in the distance. When play resumed, the Polar Bear pitchers were unable to find their control and three wild pitches led to three insurance runs for the Raiders. Marissa Earl (Massillon/Washington) had an RBI infield single in the inning.

Bre Willis (Navarre/Fairless) allowed just one earned run on six hits. Willis (11-8) recorded six strikeouts as she earned her second win of the season over the Polar Bears.

Abbey Bensing (11-5) took the loss for the Polar Bears. Bensing allowed four earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings fo work to go along with three strikeouts.

Mount Union will play John Carroll Friday at 3:30 pm.

Mount Union 6, Ohio Northern 1 (May 04, 2012 at Ada, Ohio)
Mount Union......... 001 011 3 -  6  8  1      (21-18)
Ohio Northern....... 001 000 0 -  1  6  2      (24-10)
Pitchers: Mount Union - B. Willis and B. Papp. Ohio Northern - Bensing; Newman(7) and Blewett.
Win-B. Willis(11-8)  Loss-Bensing(11-5)  T-1:44  A-165
Weather: 75, Cloudy, Chance of Rain