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JUNIATA SOFTBALL CONCLUDES SEASON IN CONFERENCE POSTSEASON

(Posted May 1, 2004)

Senior Amber Helsel had a pair of hits and a run scored as Juniata dropped a 5-2 decision to Susquehanna in the Commonwealth Conference postseason.

Susquehanna 5, Juniata 2

Annville, Pa. ? The Juniata College softball team saw its chance of earning the program?s first-ever berth in the NCAA postseason come to an end as Juniata fell to Susquehanna 5-2 in Annville on Saturday morning. Juniata lost its first-round game to top seed Moravian Friday afternoon, and then dropped the game this morning against the third seed Susquehanna. Juniata finishes the season with a record of 20-13 which established a new program record for wins in a season.

Juniata struck first against the Crusaders, but for the second day in a row one big inning was too much for Juniata to overcome.

Becky Herr (Hamburg/Hamburg) walked to start the second inning for Juniata. Susquehanna then misplayed a sacrifice bunt attempt which put runners at first and third with no one out. Allison D?Ambrosia (State College/Boalsburg) then drove in Herr with a double to left and Juniata led 1-0 with runners at second and third and no outs. But Susquehanna escaped the jam with no further damage as Crusader pitcher Heather Litzbauer got a strikeout a fly-out and a ground-out to escape the inning.

Susquehanna responded with a pair of singles and a run in the bottom of the second to tie the contest at one. Kristen Boccafola plated Sarah Shaffer with an RBI single to tie the game.

The Eagles threatened again in the third as Amber Helsel (Claysburg-Kimmel/Claysburg) drilled a triple with one out to put herself in scoring position. Butzbauer answered again, this time with a strikeout and a fly-out to get out of the inning.

Juniata pitcher Renae Hobbs (Mount Union/Mount Union) looked strong until the bottom of the fourth inning when Susquehanna got hot with the bats. The Crusaders pounded out five hits and scored four runs in the inning to knock Hobbs from the game. Boccafola, Heather Thomas, Kelli Thompson and Melissa Bird all recorded RBI singles in the inning, with the first three coming off Hobbs and the final coming against reliever Lizzie Bartosik (Penn/Granger, In.). The inning put Susquehanna in front 5-1

Juniata would get one run back in the sixth. Helsel led off with a single, moved to third on a wild pitch and an infield groundout, then came home on Herr?s sacrifice fly.

In the final inning, Juniata got a single from D?Ambrosia to start the frame, but Litzbauer retired the final three hitters to secure the victory.

Helsel paced Juniata in the game as she finished 2-for-3 with a run scored. D?Ambrosia was also 2-for-3 in the game and recorded an RBI. Herr finished with an RBI and a run scored.

Hobbs was charged with the loss as she tossed three and a third innings allowing five runs on eight hits. Bartosik surrendered three hits in her two and two thirds innings of work.

Litzbauer raised her record to 7-5 by allowing just four hits and two runs in seven innings.

Boccafola finished the game 3-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI. Bird was 3-for-4 in the contest with and RBI and Thomas was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.

Juniata has five seniors who likely closed out their careers on Saturday. Juniata may still earn an ECAC postseason bid. The group of Casandra Dutzer (Danville/Riverside), Amy Gable (Kennard-Dale/Stewartstown), Herr, Helesl and Sarah Patterson (Danville/Danville) helped lead a Juniata team that earned just two wins in 2000 to back-to-back postseason appearances the past two seasons. The Eagles set a program record with 19 wins last season, then topped that with 20 victories this year.

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