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March 20, 2010

2010 Season - Extra inning contest goes to Washington

The Augustana softball team finished off a tough weekend in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon, falling to the host Bears 11-8 in nine innings at the Marriott West Invitational. The Vikings relinquished three separate leads in the game including a three-run margin in the seventh inning and a two-run edge in the eighth. The loss drops the nation’s eighth-ranked Division III team to 8-5 on the year.

The Bears took the first lead of the game, touching Viking starter Jackie Gill (Heyworth HS, Heyworth, Ill.) for a run in the bottom of the third. Augustana responded by parlaying infield hits by Dawn Kernich (Mt. Olive HS, Mt. Olive, Ill.) and Karlee Quaritsch (Palatine HS, Palatine, Ill.) and a Washington error into a pair of runs in the top of the fourth.

The Bears retook the lead, 3-2, with two runs off Augustana reliever Erica Aten (Moline HS, Coal Valley, Ill.) in the bottom of the inning. Corissa Santos scored during a rundown and Sondra Polonsky brought home Carter Malouf with an RBI single to center.

The Vikings looked to be in great shape when they scored two runs each in the sixth and seventh to take a 6-3 lead. In the top of the sixth, Melissa Nelson (West Aurora HS, Aurora, Ill.) brought Quaritsch home with a single to right center and scored herself on another Bear miscue. In the seventh, Quaritsch followed a two-out Kernich single by blasting her second home run of the year to left field.

The third Augustana pitcher of the game, Kellie Humbert (Dwight HS, Dwight, Ill.), had held Washington scoreless in the fifth and sixth inning and appeared to be cruising when she retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh. However, she hit Claire Voris and walked Santos to bring Bear cleanup hitter Ally Berenter to the plate. Berenter doubled to center, scoring Voris and Santos and Malouf followed with an RBI single to tie the score at 6-6.

Aten and Andi Walker (Plainfield South HS, Plainfield, Ill.) drove in runs in the top of the eighth to give Augustana yet another lead at 8-6, but Washington got them right back in the bottom of the frame off the Vikings’ Sheldon Ritzheimer (Wesclin HS, Trenton, Ill.).

After the Vikings left two runners stranded in a scoreless top of the ninth, Ritzheimer got the first two Bear hitters out in the bottom of the inning. With Voris having been placed on second base to start the frame, Augustana then made the decision to walk Malouf to put runners on first and second. However, the Bears’ Caitlyn Hoffman confounded that strategy by pounding a game-winning three-run home run.

Ritzheimer suffered her second loss against four victories while Victoria Cook, who went the distance for Washington, picked up the win. Kernich and Quaritsch each had three of the Vikings’ eight hits in the game.

The Vikings come home to Carver Field for a 4:00 p.m. doubleheader against Wisconsin-Platteville on Wednesday, March 24.