Beavers bow out of HCAC softball tournamentBy Tim Stried, SID
May 6, 2002
The Bluffton College softball team won their final six Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season games in a row and extended their HCAC winning streak to seven games with a 6-0 victory over Franklin College in the first round of the HCAC tournament on Friday, but BC came up a bit short in their next two outings to bow out of the league tournament and see their season come to an end.
Hosted by Manchester College, the HCAC tournament's two-day double-elimination format resulted in the Beavers playing three games on Friday. BC was victorious over Franklin at 11 a.m. but was dealt losses by Anderson, 7-5, at 3 p.m. and Defiance, 2-1, at 5 p.m.
Bluffton carried the number two seed into the tournament, which was won by Mount St. Joseph.
Bluffton sees their season come to an end with an overall record of 13-22-1 and 9-4-1 in the HCAC. Led by head coach Ty Cook, BC has now finished among the conference's top four team each of their four seasons in the league. The Beavers won the HCAC tournament following the 1999 season.
Senior Emily Kurtz pitched a three-hit shutout in Bluffton's 6-0 victory over Franklin in the opening round of the tournament. Junior Missy Neal and sophomore Paula Fry each collected two base hits, while sophomore Stephanie Rush doubled and drove in two runs.
In the semi-final game, Anderson led 7-0 after their turn at the plate in the fourth inning, but the Beavers answered with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and added another in the sixth inning to get back into the game. However, it wasn't enough to get past Ravens to the championship round of the tournament as AU prevailed 7-5. Freshman Janeen Arps suffered the loss and was relieved by Kurtz in the third inning. Kurtz also made her first three plate appearances of the season and led the BC offense with two base hits and three RBI's.
Defiance then ended Bluffton's season with a 2-1 win over the Beavers in the third and final game on Friday. Junior Stacy Herr pitched all seven innings and allowed just six hits, but BC was held to four hits themselves, three of which came from the bat of freshman Rebecca Heller, who also knocked in Bluffton's lone run.
Offensive leaders for Bluffton this season included Arps (.297, 5 RBI), Rush (.296, 8 2b, 17 RBI), Neal (.275, 9 RBI), sophomore Amber Fitzwater (.269, 18 R, 9 RBI, 5 2b), sophomore Amanda DeVaul (.246, 4 RBI), freshman Allison Lange (.240, 4 2b, 9 RBI) and junior Paula Fry (.239, 18-18 SB).
The pitching staff was led by Kurtz (8-9, 1.71 ERA, 79 K), Arps (4-7, 3.03, 9 K) and Herr (1-6, 5.14 ERA, 17 K).
Rush's doubles are tied for the fourth-most in one season in BC softball history, while Fry's stolen base total ranks second and was just two away from the single season record of 20 set by Jen Radabaugh in 1997. Kurtz's ERA and strikeout total rank third best in a single season.
Special to: The Bluffton News