Rams eliminated from regional play after a 4-1 win over Chowan and second 1-0 loss to Lock Haven

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Rams pitcher #33 Lori Sturgill pictured here in a previous home game was barely out-dueled by Lock Havens Bekkah Slattery in Friday's regional play (Credit: Shepherd University Athletic Department)

The Rams’ softball team was eliminated from regional play in the division two Atlantic Tournament Friday after it suffered its second 1-0 loss to Lock Haven in two days even though it beat Chowan 4-1 earlier in the day.

The early game action kicked off at 1:30 p.m. where fifth ranked Shepherd took on eighth seeded Chowan and secured the 4-1 victory that sent them back to face fourth seeded Lock Haven in the night cap. In the game against Chowan, the Rams got out to an early 1-0 lead in the opening inning thanks to a heads up play by junior right fielder Morgan Cox who scored when senior catcher Molly Staley attempted to steal second and was thrown out.

That was all the action until the fifth inning when the Rams were able to add two runs to make it a 3-0 lead with Cox hitting a two-RBI triple to right field and scoring junior center fielder Kaitlyn Konopka and senior pitcher Kaitlin Munda.

The fourth and final run for the Rams came in the final inning with Munda smacking a solo home run to right field as the lead stood at 4-0 for a few at bats. After the Rams batters were retired in the top of the seventh, Chowan secured its first and only run of the game with pinch runner Carleigh Wildeboer scoring on an error by catcher Molly Staley with the bases loaded. Munda and the Rams’ defense were able to get out of that inning and take the 4-1 victory with relative ease.

Munda picked up the win with her complete game effort to bring her record to 10-7 after she allowed just two total hits and the one fluke run in the last inning. Munda also had seven strikeouts on the day.

Chowan starter Shannon Buchanan also threw a complete game, and with the loss her record fell to 16-8 after allowing seven hits and all four runs from the Rams.

The second meeting with Lock Haven was a similar game script as the first and turned the same result, with Lock Haven securing one run and playing great defense to get the win. Once again it was a matchup of the two teams most consistent pitchers with junior Lori Sturgill taking the mound for the Rams and freshman Bekkah Slattery starting for Lock Haven.

The lone run for Lock Haven came in the top of the fourth when pinch hitter Cassie Querry connected on a pitch from Sturgill and singled to center field, which brought home first baseman Bryann Hilty from third.

Other than the one run, both teams found it difficult to get much going with both pitchers locked in. For the game, Sturgill struck out three, gave up four hits, and the run that ended up being enough for Lock Haven to win. Slattery had a slightly better performance that Lock Haven needed to win in letting up just two hits and striking out five batters. Both starters once again threw complete games as well with Slattery picking up win number 20 to bring her season record to 20-6. Sturgill, with the loss her season record stands at 14-9.

It was a tough way for the Rams to be eliminated from regional play with Lock Haven now advancing to the championship round where they will take on West Chester Saturday, May 12.

Vaughn Brewer is a sports writer for The Picket. He can be reached at vbrewe01@rams.shepherd.edu