MC softball team splits with Heidelberg

MARIETTA- Marietta College’s softball team helped make Community Day a grand slam outing.

The Pioneers slugged four home runs, including two slams, in a 16-15 come-from-behind triumph over visiting Heidelberg University in the opening game of an Ohio Athletic Conference doubleheader Saturday.

“Holy smokes, the bats were hot today!” said veteran MC skipper Jeanne Arbuckle. “I can’t quite believe what I saw. It was a lot of offense from both teams.

“I’m just so proud of our kids. We were down a bunch, and we just battled, battled, battled. I just can’t say enough about how hard our kids fought.”

In the nightcap of the twinbill, Marietta (16-16 overall, 6-6 OAC) never led and dropped a 9-5 decision to the Student Princes (19-7, 6-4).

In the first game, MC got homers from Kaitlin Klinchock in the first, Alison Kach in the third, and Brianna Finck and Rachel Montgomrey in the fourth. Both Kach’s and Montgomery’s were grand slams.

“To score 31 runs in a game, that’s impressive,” said Montgomery, the only senior on the navy blue and white squad. “You just don’t give up and the team pulls through. We did what we had to do.

Montgomery and Finck each finished with three hits, while Cierra Bloom, Ariann Barile, and Klinchock had two apiece.

“Everybody just started hitting, and it just happened for us,” Montgomery said.

Kach, a junior southpaw, relieved starter Jocelyn White in the second inning, and picked up the mound win.

“Alison pitched in relief, and she struggled there a little bit but then she settled down,” Arbuckle said. “She also had the big swing, and it was great.”

Bailey Smith led Heidelberg with four hits, including three doubles, and three RBIs. Marissa Smego and Taylor Hicks added three knocks and combined to drive in five runs. Renee Lovett finished with a double and single, Abbey McKee had a three-run homer in the third inning, and Kayla Zachrich blasted a home run off the scoreboard.

Righty Paige Atterholt suffered the loss on the bump. Morgan Daniels and Erin Chapman also hurled for the Berg.

Sparked by Zachrich’s first-inning, two-run shot, HU staked itself to a 3-0 advantage. But MC came back with four runs in the bottom half of the frame. Klinchock’s two-run blast was the big blow.

The Berg regained the lead with an eight-run explosion in the top half of the second, making it 11-4. Highlighting the surge, McKee had a three-run dinger.

But in the bottom of the third inning, Marietta cut it to three on Kach’s slam. In the fourth, the Pioneers, trailing 13-8, played longball and scored seven runs. First, Mongomery plated four on a slam. Later, Finck hit a two-run shot to put the home team ahead, 15-13.

Heidelberg tied it at 15-all in the top of the sixth.

But in the bottom half of the frame, Montgomery led off with single and was pinch-run for by Madison Gatley. After Gatley was moved over on Ali Prologo’s sacrifice bunt, she legged it home on Finck’s two-out single to right, making it 16-15.

In the top of the seventh, Kach retired the first two Berg batters, but then gave up a single to Hicks. Settling down, the lefty got the final out of the game on a popup to second.

“Our kids are hungry to get back to the tournament, and they understand the importance of these games,” Arbuckle said. “Also, it’s Community Day and lot of people are here to support us.”

In the second game, Heidelberg scored three runs, thanks to Mikaela Mitsch’s two-run blast off the scoreboard.

However, in the bottom half of the frame, Klinchock hit her second homer of day, a two-run shot, and that helped tie it at 3-3.

Heidelberg regained the lead with a single run in the second. But again MC came back and tied it at 4-all.

Once again, HU went ahead 6-4 in the third with Smith and Smego each driving in a run.

Marietta, capitalizing on an errant Berg throw, was able to cut it to one in the bottom of the frame.

The Student Princes scored three runs in the sixth, and were able to salvage a split of the doubleheader.

Atterholt went the distance on the hill and got the win.

“I was hoping we could get two today,” Montgomery. “That’s what we wanted.”