Mounties title hopes come to end on controversial call
QUAKERTOWN - A controversial call, on what would have been a double-play, led to all four Shippensburg runs as the Raiders eliminated Mansfield 4-2 in a loser's bracket game at the PSAC Championship Tournament Thursday morning in Quakertown.
It was a brutal tournament for the Mountaineers, who surprisingly had what proved to be the toughest draw in the competition after clinching a piece of the PSAC Central title last weekend. Mansfield opened the tournament with a 6-2 loss to top-seed California yesterday and drew Shippensburg after the Raiders - the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Region, was upset 6-0 by Bloomsburg.
Mansfield, which was ranked No. 7 in yesterday's NCAA Atlantic Region poll, must now wait to see if they will be one of the eight teams to advance to the NCAA tournament. That announcement will be made on Sunday evening.
Both teams failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the first inning of a highly emotional game.
Mansfield's Courtney Bauder led off the game with a double to left field but was erased when Stephanie Simmeth's hard-hit line drive was caught at second, doubling up the runner.
Shippensburg had runners at second and third after two-out a double by Taylor Weisman before Mountaineer pitcher Caitlin Klobosits, who started yesterday's game, struck out Rachel Shumway to end the threat.
In the bottom of the third, Kiersten Darhower led off the inning by beating out an infield hit and moved up to second on a throwing error on a
pickoff attempt by the catcher. The next batter, Maddie Justice, then hit a liner to second that was turned into what appeared was a double-play but the base umpire ruled it a trap and Darhower continued racing around the bases to score.
Despite a protest by Mansfield, the call held up following a conference between all three umpires and Shippensburg took a 1-0 lead.
That call led to three more runs when Shippensburg got another single followed by a three-run home run by Rachel Shumway giving the Raiders a 4-0 lead.
A fired-up Mansfield team answered right back in the top half of the fourth inning. Simmeth singled with one out before Kate Pratt delivered a towering home run, her 17th of the season, over the left field fence to cut the lead to 4-2.
Kaitlyn Harris then followed with a single. One out later, Ashley Inman drilled a single over the centerfield's glove sending Harris to third but Mansfield couldn't push across another run before the side was retired.
Freshman Taylor Stupski led off the top of the fifth with a flair single over a diving first baseman but the Mountaineers couldn't advance the runner.
Shippensburg pitcher Makenzie Lynn retired the side in order in the top of the sixth and stuck out the first two Mountaineer batters in the seventh before Stupski singled to keep Mansfield's hopes alive. But Lynn got the next batter to fly out to center field to bring Mansfield's PSAC title run to an end.
Shippensburg got four of its eight hits in the controversial third inning. Mansfield had seven hits in the game including two by Stupski. Pratt extended her single season home run record to 17 and also established a single season RBI record with her 50th of the season surpassing Deb Gmys mark of 48 set in 1990. Pratt also set a season record with 31 of her 53 hits going for extra-bases this season.
Klobosits threw a gutsy game, going the distance and striking out seven to extend her season strikeout record to 134.
Darhower led Shippensburg with three hits in four at-bats with Taylor Wiesman going 2-2. Lynn picked up the complete-game win striking out seven and walking none.
Mansfield is now 25-15 on the season while Shippensburg improves to 31-10.