LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Ohio softball team (7-5) opened play at the 2018 John Cropp Classic, dropping their first two games of the weekend. The Bobcats fell to Southeast Missouri State (8-4) in the first game, 2-1. They then came back and battled hard against #22 Kentucky (11-3), falling to the Wildcats, 5-3 in the second game of the day.
GAME ONE: SEMO 2, Ohio 1
The Bobcats opened the first game with runners on the bases. With one out, Mikayla Cooper (Delaware, Ohio) drew a walk, then with two outs, Katie Yun (North Canton, Ohio) singled to right field, moving Cooper and putting runners on first and third with two outs. Unfortunately, the Bobcats would be unable to get a run across and would go to the bottom of the frame with the game scoreless.
In the bottom of the first, the Bobcats would get the first two outs of the inning before Rachel Anderson singled to right field. However, the final batter of the inning would ground out, sending the game to the second with the game still tied at 0-0.
After an uneventful second inning from both teams, Ohio would put runners on the bases again in the top of the third inning. Taylor Saxton (Circleville, Ohio) led the inning off with an infield single. However, Saxton would be out a batter later after the Bobcats lined into a double play. Cooper would then double to right field and then steal third, putting a runner in scoring position with two outs. However, the Bobcats would be unable to score once again, sending the game to the bottom of the third still scoreless.
SEMO would get a run in the bottom of the third. Riley Hayes led the inning off with a walk and then advanced to second when Mykaela Arellanes also drew a walk. Both runners would move up after a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third with no outs. After a strikeout, Anderson would walk to load the bases. Then with one out, Abby Tillotson would register a sacrifice fly, giving SEMO the 1-0 lead. The Bobcats would get the final out of the inning, but would go to the fourth with SEMO leading 1-0.
With one out in the top of the fourth, Deanna Cole (Akron, Ohio) would be hit by a pitch, putting a runner on with one out. Then with two outs, Michaela Dorsey (Grove City, Ohio) would single through the right side, putting runners on first and second, but Ohio would be unable to score, sending the game to the bottom of the frame trailing 1-0.
The Bobcats would send SEMO down in order in the bottom of the fourth, sending the game to the fifth inning still trailing 1-0. Saxton would lead the inning off with a walk. She would then move to second on a ground out, putting the tying run on scoring position, however the Bobcats would be unable to get a run, stranding the runner at second and sending the game to the bottom of the fifth still trailing 1-0.
After an uneventful bottom of the fifth inning from SEMO and a one-two-three inning from the Bobcats in the top of the sixth, Ohio would go to the bottom of the sixth still trailing 1-0. For SEMO, Addison Barnouski led the inning off with a solo homerun to left field. Ashley Ellis would then single up the middle, but pitcher Kendall Meeks (Guysville, Ohio) would end the SEMO threat, sending the game to the top of the seventh trailing 2-0.
The Bobcats would finally get on the board in the top of the seventh inning. Dorsey led off with a double to left field. Pinch hitter, Natalie Alvarez (Long Beach, Calif.) would then draw a walk, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Alexa Holland (Rochester, Ind.) would come in to pinch run for Alvarez and advance to second when Saxton reached on a fielder's choice. Unfortunately, Dorsey would be out at third on the play.
Alex Day (Hilliard, Ohio) would draw a walk, loading the bases with one out. Cooper would then be hit by a pitch, forcing in Holland from third, cutting the lead to 2-1. Unfortunately, the Bobcats would be unable to get another run across, and would drop the first game of the day to SEMO, 2-1.
At the plate, the Bobcats scored one run on five hits. Dorsey led the way, going 2-for-4 with a double. Cooper went 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI, while Yun and Saxton both added hits for Ohio.
In the circle, Desirae Villanueva (0-1) pitched a solid game, throwing four innings, allowing one run on one hit and struck out one. Meeks ended up pitching two innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out one.
GAME TWO: #22 Kentucky 5, Ohio 3
Ohio would be the home team in their second game of the day, taking on #22 Kentucky.
The Wildcats would take an early lead in the top of the first, when Bailey Vick singled to the shortstop, however she would be out at second when Erin Rethlake reached on a fielder's choice. Katie Reed would then triple to right center, scoring Rethlake. Then one batter later, Jenny Schaper would double to left field, scoring Reed. Starting pitcher Danielle Stiene (Loveland, Ohio) would then get the last two UK batters to pop up, but Kentucky would lead 2-0 after one inning.
The Bobcats would go down in order in the bottom of the first inning. Then in the top of the second, UK tried to add on, when with two outs, Sarah Rainwater would single to right center. However, Stiene would get the final batter to strikeout to end the inning with Ohio still trailing 2-0.
There would be little action until the bottom of the fourth inning, when with two outs, Cooper would draw a walk. She would then move to third base when Yun doubled to right field. Cole would then be hit by a pitch, loading the bases with two outs. Unfortunately, Ohio would be unable to score and would go to the top of the fifth trailing 2-0.
UK would add on in the top of the fifth inning, when with one out, Vick would be hit by a pitch. She would then be thrown out at second when Rethlake hit into a fielder's choice. Rethlake would then score after Reed doubled to left field. She would then move to third on a wild pitch. Then with two outs, Schaper would hit a homerun to right field. The Bobcats would get the final better to ground out, but Kentucky would lead 5-0 going to the bottom of the fifth.
The Bobcats would try to cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Dorsey would draw a leadoff walk, putting a runner on with no outs. Then with two outs, she would move to third after Day doubled down the right field line. However, the Bobcats would be unable to score, stranding two runners in scoring position.
After Kentucky would strand two runners in the top of the sixth, the Bobcats would finally strike in the bottom of the frame. Cooper led off with a walk. She then moved to third on a single to right field from Yun. Cooper and Yun would each move up a base on a ground out. Then with two outs, Dorsey would single up the middle, scoring Cooper and Yun, cutting the UK lead to 5-2 after six innings.
Kentucky would register two more hits in the top of the seventh inning, but would not add on to their lead, and Ohio would try to mount a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Day crushed a homerun to right center. However, that would be the last run Ohio would get, and would fall by the final of 5-3.
At the plate, Ohio scored three runs on five hits. Day went 2-for-4 with a double, homerun, RBI and a run scored. Yun went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored, while Dorsey went 1-for-2 with two RBI.
In the circle, Stiene pitched five innings, allowing five runs on six hits and striking out five. Meeks entered the game in relief, pitching two innings and did not allow a run on three hits.
The Bobcats return to action on Sunday, March 4 to wrap up play at the 2018 John Cropp Classic. Ohio will take on SEMO at 10 a.m. and conclude with Kentucky at 2 p.m.