TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Defiance softball team kicked off Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action, when it topped the Rose-Hulman Fightin' Engineers 6-5 in nine innings during the first game of a doubleheader. It then gave up a seventh-inning lead to fall 5-4 in eight frames during the second on Saturday, March 23. The Jackets go to 7-5 (1-1 HCAC) on the season, while Rose moves to 5-9 (1-1 HCAC).
For the first contest of the afternoon, Rose got on the scoreboard before DC with a run in the bottom of the third. However, the Jackets answered right back with a run in each of the next two innings and a pair in the top of the sixth to take a 4-1 lead. Heading the offense in the spurt were senior Gloria Basinger (Bluffton, OH /Cory-Rawson) and junior Macy Ferrall (St. Marys, OH / Memorial) with RBI singles, along with senior Katie Miller (Archbold, OH / HS) knocking in a run on a double.
With the pressure on the Engineer's in the bottom of the sixth, the home team responded with three runs of their own. DC made a pitching change from freshman Alli Rowland (Westerville, OH / Westerville North) to Katie Patchin (West Farmington, OH / Bristol Local) with two on and nobody out and unfortunately, the first batter she faced went yard with a game tying three-run home run. But Patchin recouped from the blow to set down the next three batters and head into the seventh frame at an even 4-4.
After scoreless innings from both sides in the seventh and eighth, the Purple and Gold broke through with two scores in the top of the ninth. Patchin helped out her own cause by notching a two-out two-run double to put Defiance up 6-4. Scoring on the play were Ferrall, who reached on a walk, and junior Maggie Neanen (Eaton, OH / HS) who reached on a fielder's choice.
Rose-Hulman made things interesting though, when it hit sacrifice fly to score the runner that had been placed on second per extra innings rules in softball. But it would not be enough, as Patchin forced an Engineer's ground out to end the game with a 6-5 victory for Defiance.
The Bristol Local High product upped her record to 4-1 on the season with the strong relief appearance. Patchin accounted for four innings pitched, surrendering three hits, two runs (one earned) with one strikeout. She also helped out her own cause in the contest by going 3-for-5 at the dish with a double, stolen base and a pair of runs batted in.
Other Jackets that swung the bat well for the game were Ferrall, Miller and freshman Makayla McAvoy (Mt. Gilead, OH / HS) who had two hits apiece. Ferrall also added a walk, RBI and two scores on the afternoon.
In the second meeting of the doubleheader, it was a back and forth affair, as there were five lead changes. Just as they had in the first game, the Engineers led 1-0 early on by singling in a run in the bottom of the first.
DC then evened the score with a Patchin RBI single in the top of the third. Junior Anna Vasquez (West Unity, OH / Hilltop) made her way around the bases to third and put herself in position for the tying run.
In the fifth, the Purple and Gold got the go-ahead run when Vasquez reached on an error and scored on a pinch-hit double by Basinger to take a 2-1 advantage.
Then the momentum swung back in the home-team's favor. Rose was able to string together a pair of singles and a double off of Holbrook to regain the lead at 3-2 heading into the top of the seventh.
With DC's last chance to make magic happen, the Yellow Jacket bats came through in the clutch. A pair of walks and a single loaded the bases with no outs to start the inning. Miller then knocked in the tying run on a fielder's choice and Patchin followed right behind her with the go-ahead RBI single to retake the lead for Defiance at 4-3.
Unfortunately, in the bottom of the seventh fielding woes cost the Purple and Gold once again, as an error in the infield allowed Rose to tie the stirring game at 4-4 and go into extra innings for the second time on the afternoon.
In the eighth, it was the Engineers time to fight back with some magic of their own. They sat down DC 1-2-3 in the top of the frame and then came away with the game-winning run on an RBI single by Carly Heibel to win the exhilarating matchup 5-4.
Getting the start on the hill for the Jackets was junior Kailea Holbrook (Defiance, OH / HS). She finished with six frames of work, giving up 12 hits and three runs with only two being earned. After earning the win in the first game, Patchin takes the tough-luck loss after going 1.2 innings surrendering two hits, a walk and a run, while striking out a pair. Her record drops to 4-2
At the plate for DC, Patchin led the team again with a 2-for-4 mark, knocking in a pair. Vasquez also was solid by going 1-for-2 with a walk and a pair of scores.
The Purple and Gold will play Olivet College next on Monday, March 25 in what is now the home opener for the Yellow Jackets. The first game of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. at Sal-Hench Field.