Gettysburg Falls Short in Championship Bid

WESTMINSTER, Md.  – Gettysburg College stared down elimination in the Centennial Conference Softball Championship twice on Sunday, but the third time did not favor the Bullets as Franklin & Marshall College held on for a 1-0 decision to claim the title.
Forced into the consolation bracket following a 7-4 loss to Franklin & Marshall (17-21) on Saturday, Gettysburg (28-14-1) battled its way to a pair of wins to open Sunday's final day of play. The Bullets erased a three-run deficit to beat Washington College (25-16) and took down the Diplomats 3-0 to force a final championship contest. Gettysburg managed just four singles as Franklin & Marshall secured its first-ever Centennial title.
In the day's first contest, the Orange and Blue jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a run-scoring single by freshman Liz Cowell (Verona, N.J./Mount Saint Dominic) in the second inning. The lead didn't last long as Washington capitalized on three errors to plate four runs in its very next at bat.
Gettysburg sliced one run off the deficit on an RBI single by sophomore Sophia Blasius (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey) in the third. The door opened fully in the fifth inning when the Bullets loaded the bags and took advantage of a pair of errors to score three runs. Junior Stephanie Leonardo (East Haddam, Conn./Choate Rosemary) plated the eventual game-winning run with a single to the edge of the grass in left field.
Junior Aileen Reilly (Huntington Station, N.Y./St. Anthony's) cruised through the final four innings, allowing just one base runner on a single in the fifth. Senior shortstop Jamie Abell (Glenn Dale, Md./Elizabeth Seton) made a diving stop on a grounder and threw out the runner to start the seventh inning.
Reilly earned the victory and struck out four. Seven different Bullets posted a hit with sophomore Meredith Taylor (Hamilton, N.J./Norther Burlington) adding two walks.
Franklin & Marshall needed just one win to capture its first Centennial title, but Gettysburg was ready to play hardball. The Diplomats put runners in scoring position in five different innings, but Reilly worked out of trouble each time, including striking out Crystal Good with the bases packed in the second inning.
Abell slapped in the Bullets' first run with a single in the third inning and freshman Taylor Doi (Foster City, Calif./San Mateo) knocked in another fifth inning. Freshman Sarahose Jonik (Glenmoore, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) accounted for the final tally with a solo home run to left-center in the sixth inning.
Franklin & Marshall loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh, but Reilly induced a fly-out to right field and caught the final batter looking at strike three.
Reilly scattered eight hits and struck out three, while Jonik and Leonardo each posted a pair of hits and scored a run.
The seventh game of the conference tournament featured a pitcher's duel between Reilly and Katie Wenger. Reilly surrendered just three hits, all in the fourth inning. The Diplomats made the most of those base knocks as Ryan Correa plated the game's only run with a single through the right side.
Wenger allowed just four hits and was aided by double plays ending the first and third innings. Blasius reached base with a single in the seventh inning, but a hard-hit ball by senior Genie Lavanant (Dingmans Ferry, Pa./Blair Academy) resulted in a putout at first base by the right fielder for the final out.
Abell posted a hit in all three games and finished second in program history and third in conference history with 211 for her career. She also finished as the program's all-time leader in games played (162), games started (162), at bats (549), and assists (349).