Rock softball ends playoff hopes

Published by adviser, Author: Brian Hepfinger - Rocket Contributor, Date: May 1, 2014

The Slippery Rock University softball team (16-26 Overall, 11-16 PSAC) ended their season with a 16-1 loss to California University of Pa. (30-4 Overall, 23-0 PSAC) Monday.

The two teams faced each other two days prior with Cal winning both games of the doubleheader.

Cal dominated all three of the matchups, scoring a total of 38 runs in the three games. Cal won the two games of the doubleheader 11-1 and 11-3.

Cal opened up the 16-1 win by scoring eight runs in the first inning. 

They then scored another five runs in the second inning, two runs in the third inning, and then capped it off with another run in the fifth inning. 

The Rock scored their only run in the second inning, when freshman catcher McKenzie Popatak hit a solo homerun to left-center field.

SRU senior pitcher Emily Lobdell was tagged with the loss, giving her an overall season record of 9-11.

SRU had a chance to sneak into the playoffs before the game against Cal, but a series of other losses made that chance very slim. 

The Green and White swept Edinboro University of Pa. last Friday, but then got swept by Cal and Indiana University of Pa. on Saturday and Sunday.

“When you’re playing California, who is a nationally ranked team with multiple girls hitting over .400, your whole team needs to be focused and ready to play those games like they’re the last games you’re ever going to play,” junior outfielder Alaynna Beers said.

Even though Cal dominated SRU in all three matchups, Popatak doesn’t believe that the team did anything wrong.

“We knew that Cal and IUP were really tough teams,” Popatak said. “We played as hard as we could and we played together, but we came up short.”

The Green and White, like this season, won 16 games last season and missed the playoffs. 

This season, SRU was led by underclassmen and a few upperclassmen.

Sophomore third baseman Ashley Samluk led the team in batting average with .355, freshman outfielder Eliza Sykes was second with an average of .297, and Beers was third with an average of .275.

“All in all I thought we had a very strong team this year,” Beers said. “Unfortunately, we did hit a rough patch with our offense that caused us to lose some important PSAC games that knocked us out of the playoffs. Next year I expect us to be even stronger since we will have many of our starters returning.”

Samluk led the team with 44 hits, sophomore infielder Katie Kaiser had 35 hits, Beers had 33 hits, and Popatak had 30 hits.

“It was an amazing learning experience and I am very fortunate for the opportunity I had to play on this team,” Popatak said. “We had amazing teammates and a great group of seniors to really mentor us as freshmen and take us in. Even though we didn’t make playoffs, I was very grateful for the experience that I had.”

The Rock played well at home this season, but struggled away. 

They had a record of 17-11 at home and a 7-22 away record.


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