By Scott Reese
DONALDSON, IN – The Ancilla College softball team lost a pair of games to NJCAA #18 Muskegon Community College by scores of 5-2 and 9-4, their first two losses in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Western Conference.
Muskegon (20-4, 6-0 MCCAA) started off the scoring in the fourth, taking the early 1-0 lead. But the Chargers (7-11, 2-2 MCCAA) answered in their half of the fourth. Back-to-back-to-back doubles off the bats of Tehya Henry, Abbey Renner, and Brittany Probasco plated two runs for the Chargers who held their 2-1 lead into the sixth. A solo home run off the bat of NJCAA Player of the Week Katie Hendrickson tied the game in the top of the sixth at 2-2. Muskegon took the lead for good in extra innings. After a leadoff single, Ancilla booted a routine fly ball and threw the ball away on the same play, leaving runners at first and second. The Chargers managed to get the next two outs but allowed a three run blast by McKenzie Butgereit to take a 5-2 lead. Ancilla fought hard in the bottom of the eighth, getting the tying run to the plate, but were unable to score. Renner was a workhorse in the circle for Ancilla. Renner allowed two earned runs, nine hits and no walks while striking out seven over eight innings of work. Maggie Birch and Henry had two hits each for the Chargers.
The visiting Jayhawks scored two in the third, one in the fourth, and four in the fifth to take a 7-0 lead in game two before Ancilla put up four runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth. Brooke Stout led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a Morgan Lippens sacrifice, and scooted to third on an error off the bat of Melia Gonzalez. With runners on first and third with one out Henry grounded into a fielder’s choice that was initially called a double play. After further consultation, Henry’s out was nullified, which scored Stout. A double from Renner, single from Probasco, and single from Birch allowed the Chargers to score three more, bridging the gap to 7-4, but that’s as close as they would get. Muskegon scored two more in the top of the sixth, which would end up being the last scoring of the game. Probasco had three hits and two RBI for the Chargers, while Gonzalez added two hits to the mix. Allena McElfresh allowed just one earned run in her 2 1/3 innings of relief work.
“Muskegon is a good team and they took advantage of every opportunity and extra at bat that was given to them,” said Ancilla coach Scott Reese. “We need to clean it up on the defensive end and get a few more hits with runners in scoring position to be successful in this league. I thought our pitching did enough to keep us in these games. We just need to back them up on both sides of the ball.”
The Chargers host Lansing Community College (13-11, 6-0 MCCAA) on Friday, April 1 at 3:00 p.m.