Softball Clinches Fourth Seed with Sweep of Lake Erie in Finale

Alex Cribari
Alex Cribari

2012 GLIAC Tournament Bracket

Ohio Dominican's softball team closed the regular season on a high note Tuesday afternoon, besting visiting division foe Lake Erie, 4-3 and 10-0 (5), at Panther Field. 

The Panthers remained unbeaten all-time against the Storm at 12-0 with the series sweep and concluded the regular season at 26-26 overall and 20-12 in the GLIAC. Riding a six-game win streak, ODU enters this weekend's conference tournament, beginning Friday, April 27 as the fourth seed overall and will face fifth-seeded Ferris State (Mich.). 

Lake Erie took the initial lead in the opener with sacrifice fly to center in the top of the fourth, but the Panthers countered with three on the board in bottom of the frame. Consecutive singles across the outfield by freshman Alex Cribari (Lyndhurst, OH), sophomore Caitlin Jividen (Wheeling, WV), and freshman Taylor Thomas (Bellville, OH) resulted in the first score. Sophomore Rebekha Lucas (Laurelville, OH) followed with a two-run double over the leftfielder's head to put ODU on top 3-1.

The Storm knotted the game at 3-3 in their next at-bat with an RBI groundout and run-scoring single on the left side and the score remained until the bottom of the seventh. 

In the seventh, junior Brooke McCartney (Salem, OH) led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher by senior Caitlin Chaney (Newark, OH). Senior Kylee Crislip (Louisville, OH) and Jividien then reached on one-out free passes to load the bases. With Lake Erie's pitcher on the ropes, Cribari inched closer to the plate and on a 2-0 pitch, took one off the outside foot for the unconventional walk-off win. 

Cribari, already the ODU career record holder for hit by pitches in just her first season and the current Division II national leader, now sits at 20 for the year. She and Lucas both finished with two-hit efforts to lead the Panthers at the plate 

Freshman Rachael Stanzel (Angleton, TX) went the full 7.0 innings for her 21st complete game, third in the program's single-season record book, and improved to 16-10 after surrendering the three earned runs on eight hits and walk with two strikeouts. 

ODU quickly put to rest any thoughts of a split by the Storm in the finale as the Panthers turned out a season-best 18 hits and plated multiple runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings, including five in the second.

Cribari once again powered ODU at the dish, going 4-of-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Playing in their final home game of their careers, the class of 2012 members Erin Sutter (Mansfield, OH), Chaney and Crislip went out with a bang, each finishing 3-of-4 with an extra base hit and at least one RBI. Sutter drove in one run to go along with three runs scored; Chaney collected two RBI and two runs scored; and Crislip also drove in a pair.

McCartney also went 3-of-4 in the game with two runs scored as the top four Panthers in the lineup combined to go 12-of-16 with five RBI and seven of ODU's 10 total runs.

Not to be outdone by her offense, freshman Kendall Lust (Marion, OH) put forth one of the best performances of her season, needing only 49 pitches for a three-hit shutout as she moved to 8-10 in her first year.

ODU opens the double-elimination GLIAC Tournament at 10 a.m. on Friday against the Bulldogs at Iriti Field at the Marathon Diamonds Complex in Finday. The teams split the season series in Big Rapids back on April 14 with FSU taking game one, 7-0, and the Panthers holding on in game two, 8-6.

Contact: Bryan Desch