SAULT STE. MARIE - Saturday (April 23) capped the 2015-16 season and concluded the Lake Superior State softball program with a pair of losses against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponent Tiffin in a doubleheader played at Locey Field.
Tiffin (26-16-1, 11-9-1 GLIAC) opened the first game with two runs in the top of the first inning and tacked on a run in each the fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-0 lead into the sixth inning.
The Laker (5-35, 1-23) bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth, eventually tying the game at 4-4 with four runs on five hits in the inning. Freshman and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. native, Jenna Holt opened the scoring for the Lakers with a long fly ball to center field on an 0-2 count that caught the Tiffin centerfielder playing too shallow. The one-hop off the wall double scored Lindsey Pajot and Carly Banchiu.
A wild pitch on the fourth ball to Durre in the ensuing at-bat led to Boucher scoring from third and Holt advancing to third base. Durre then stole second base early in the next at bat to put runners on second and third for Emily Estep. Estep beat out an infield single in her at bat but Holt was thrown out at home by the first baseman. After TU catcher Allyson Rock applied the tag to Holt at home, she then found Durre caught in a pickle between third and home. A series of throws back and forth were unable to successfully pick off Durre as she slid into home safely for the game-tying run.
Boucher returned to her place in the pitcher's circle for the start of the seventh inning and got the first out with a foul ball caught by Pajot. The next batter, Sarah Brown, then delivered a one-out blast to left field for the go-ahead home run. That marked the end of Boucher's (L, 1-9) final outing as sophomore Riley Durbano came in to record the final two outs of the inning.
The Lakers presented themselves with the perfect opportunity for the comeback bid in the bottom of the seventh with three straight singles to load the bases. Kelsey Yaratch (W, 3-5) settled in with the bases loaded, however, and got a pair of ground balls to her short stop and third baseman for fielder's choice force-outs at home. Yaratch got the third out with a hard line drive caught by the third baseman to deliver the 5-4 victory for Tiffin in the first game.
In the second game of the afternoon the Dragons went ahead 2-0 with runs in the second and third innings, while batting second.
In the fourth inning catcher Katie Martin cut the TU lead to 2-1 with an RBI single up the middle that scored Banchiu. That would be all the damage the Lakers could inflict on starter Tiffany Snell (W, 7-3) in the top of the fourth despite having runners on second and third.
The Dragons added three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to go ahead 6-1.
Durre added a solo home run the top of the sixth inning to cut the lead to 6-2 momentarily; however the Dragons added another run in the bottom half. During the top of the seventh junior Carly Banchiu delivered an opposite-field single to right to drive in Taylor Steinhelper but the Lakers ultimately fell 7-3.
The Lakers concluded the programs' 42nd season of varsity softball with a 5-35 overall record. Last week it was announced that the athletic department would not offer softball as a varsity sport during the 2016-17 academic year.