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JUNIATA SOFTBALL OPENS POSTSEASON WITH TIGHT LOSS

(Posted April 30, 2004)

Becky Herr drilled a three-run home run in the top of the first inning of Juniata\'s Commonwealth Conference postseason game against Moravian.

Moravian 5, Juniata 3

Annville, Pa. ? Three first-inning runs were not enough for the Juniata College softball team as the Eagles dropped a tight 5-3 decision to top-seeded Moravian in the opening game of the Commonwealth Conference postseason Friday afternoon in Annville. Despite the loss Juniata is still alive in the double-elimination tournament, and will play the loser of today?s other first-round game between host Lebanon Valley and Susquehanna.

Taking on a team that has been ranked first in NCAA Division III softball for much of the season, Juniata got out of the gates quickly scoring three runs in the top of the first. Moravian would answer with a run of its own in the first, and then pushed across four runs in the decisive fifth inning to earn the victory.

In the first Amy Gable (Kennard-Dale/Stewartstown) led off the game with a single up the middle. After a sacrifice bunt moved her to second, Sarah Patterson (Danville/Danville) reached when she was hit by a pit. Senior shortstop Becky Herr (Hamburg/Hamburg) put the Eagles on the board with a home run to left.

Heather Bortz singled to start the bottom of the first for Moravian. After a sacrifice bunt pushed her to second, Janelle Brey singled to center scoring the run and cutting the lead to 3-1. Brey was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double, and Juniata sophomore Lizzie Bartosik (Penn/Granger, In.) would get through the rest of the inning unscathed.

Bartosik and Greyhound hurler Meagan Hennessey would both take control over the next couple of innings as Juniata managed just one hit, and Moravian was held without another base runner until the fourth.

In the fourth Brey doubled with one out, then a single from Melissa Soroka put runners at first and third with one down. But Bartosik worked out of the jam getting a groundball out on the infield and then Dannielle Carrione was robbed on a diving catch by Amber Helsel (Claysburg-Kimmel/Claysburg) to end the inning.

Bartosik could not avoid trouble in the fifth as Moravian got the offense rolling. After retiring the first batter Bartosik walked consecutive batters, then gave up a single to Bortz to load the bases. She then walked Lauren Homa to bring in a run and make the score 3-2 Juniata. Renae Hobbs (Mount Union/Mount Union) came on in relief of Bartosik and promptly walked Brey to bring in another run and tie the game at three. The trouble continued as the next batter hit a groundball to third, only to have the fielder throw the ball over the catchers head and allow an unearned run to score. Moravian would add its fifth run as Herr ran down a foul pop down the third base line, only to have a runner tag and score from third base. A groundout to the third baseman ended the inning, but not before the Greyhounds moved in front 5-3.

Juniata would threaten in both the sixth and seventh innings, but were unable to mount a rally. In the sixth, Herr doubled with two outs to move into scoring position, but Hennessy retired Hobbs on a lineout to get out of the inning. Then in the seventh, Abby Sener (Donegal/Marietta) was hit by a pitch with one out. Allison D?Ambrosia (State College/Boalsburg) pinch hit and singled to put the tying run on first. But Jen Piston (Central Bucks East/Jamison) lined into a double play on a diving catch by Bortz to end the game.

Juniata finished with five hits, as Herr led the way gong 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Gable, Patterson and D?Ambrosia had the other hits for the Eagles.

Bartosik pitched four and a third innings allowing five runs, just three earned, and striking out two.

Hennessy pitched the complete game for Moravian allowing three earned runs on five hits and striking out five.

Bortz was 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Greyhounds. Brey finished 2-for-2 with two runs driven in.

In order to win the Conference Championship and the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, Juniata will need to win four games on Saturday.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.