Slippery Rock University softball was fortunate to get themselves into the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament in Quakertown, Pa. for the first time since 2009. Rock softball was feeling ready for playoffs after not having been in several years.
The team set a goal at the beginning of the season to make PSACs, and they did.
“We were very excited we achieved our goal,” said head coach Stacey Rice. “The team believed they had an edge heading into game one against Millersville but first had to shake the nerves.
Slippery Rock looked to have an advantage with sophomore Brooke Dawson on the mound. However, Millersville jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning.
Slippery Rock would battle right back in the first with an RBI double from junior Caitlin Baxter scoring sophomore Emily Nagle and advancing senior Ashley Samluk to third. Samluk would then score on a sacrifice fly make the score 4-2 in favor of Millersville.
That would be all The Rock would get, however, and they would fall to the Marauders 4-2. Dawson took the loss despite pitching well after a shaky first inning. She would finish going 5.1 innings, giving up four hits and four runs while striking out six. Offensively, The Rock got two hits each from Samluk and Baxter.
The team battled but left some runners on base.
“They just couldn’t get those runs on timely hits,” said Coach Rice.
The Rock would then face elimination in a game against Indiana (Pa) later that day. Game two was a nail-biter that featured great pitching from sophomore Paige Flore and junior Carly DeRose.
The Crimson Hawks struck first in the second inning, but Slippery Rock answered back in the fifth inning. Senior Ashley Samluk doubled to right center, scoring sophomore Emily Nagle and tying the game at one. Indiana would get one in the sixth inning and it would be too much for The Rock to come back.
Nagle had three hits in four at-bats and scored Slippery Rock’s lone run led The Rock on offense.
Flore started the game and finished with a line of four innings giving up one run on five hits. DeRose came in to relieve Flore and she went three innings giving up one run on two hits and striking out two.
The final score was 2-1 in favor of Indiana. In a similar situation in game two, those timely hits were unable to happen. However, Coach Rice is proud of the team down the stretch. She told her team after the losses, “Don’t let the last few games define the successful season.”
Coach Rice believed the team showed a lot of heart and looks forward to next year with her young team. “We’re going to miss the seniors, but the pitching is extremely young and we are also now experienced in different areas,” said Coach Rice. The team is returning a lot of good players and it will be interesting so see what happens next year.
The Rock finishes the season with a 20-23 record.