There's nothing so cruel and sudden in sports as a single-elimination game. A promising rally turns into the end of a season in a flash. Such was the fate of the Hillsdale College softball team Saturday afternoon.
Every other year the GLIAC Softball Tournament has taken place, it has adhered to a double-elimination format, meaning teams would have to lose twice before seeing their seasons end. However, rain wiped out the first day of this year's tournament, forcing a format change into single elimination.
Thus, Hillsdale's season came to an end with a 3-1 loss to Saginaw Valley State University in the GLIAC tournament quarterfinal, held at the Marathon Diamonds in Findlay, Ohio. The team's season comes to an end with a final record of 25-23, its fourth consecutive winning season and fourth consecutive 20-win season.
The teams seeded third through sixth in this year's tournament were separated by just one game in the GLIAC standings, and the first round games all reflected that. Two games went into extra innings, and this 3-6 matchup between the Chargers and Cardinals was just as tightly played.
SVSU outhit Hillsdale by just a 7-6 margin and both pitchers allowed just one earned run. But two Charger errors led directly to Cardinal runs, which made an impact on the final result. Hillsdale also stranded 10 runners on base.
Freshman pitcher Dana Weidinger had one strikeout and allowed one earned run in her six innings of work. She finished her rookie season with a school-record 191.2 innings pitched.
Sophomore Amanda Marra had two hits for Hillsdale, while sophomore Katie Kish singled, driving in the team's only run of the game. Senior Cassie Asselta reached base twice, got hit by a pitch, had a single, and scored a run.
Senior Bekah Kastning had a single up the middle in her final career at bat, finishing the season with a school-record 79 total hits. Her standard of offensive excellence and consistency will be difficult to match for any players to come in the program.