Although the Charger softball team suffered a tough loss in the second game of their doubleheader at Cedarville Saturday afternoon, it was the game one win that carried the most significance.
Thanks to a brilliant pitching performance from sophomore Natalie Walters, Hillsdale topped the Yellow Jackets 5-1 and clinched a spot in next week's Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament. The Chargers stand at 19-24 overall and 13-9 in conference play.
Hillsdale is in fifth place in the G-MAC following the conclusion of play Saturday. With two games scheduled to be played at Findlay Sunday, the worst Hillsdale can finish is 13-11. Ursuline sits in ninth place with an 11-13 conference record, thus clinching the berth for the Chargers, last year's tournament champs.
Seven different players accounted for the 11 hits for Hillsdale in game one, led by a 3-for-4 performance from senior Katie Kis. All 11 Charger hits were singles, but they strung them together smartly, scoring runs in four different innings in the win.
She improved to 9-6 on the season with a seven-inning outing, allowing just one earned run with a strikeout. She scattered just four hits and worked effectively out of most rallies the Yellow Jackets put together. She tallied 60 strikes out of 101 total pitches.
Game two saw Hillsdale lead for six of the seven innings, only to see Cedarville rally for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a 4-3 win.
Once again the top of the Charger lineup was productive. Kish was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, while Catron doubled and drove in three as part of a 2-for-4 outing at the plate.
PHOTO: Todd Lancaster