Productive Tandem Leads Softball Team Past Bulldogs

Often times in sports there's talk about a one-two punch.

            Late Friday afternoon (May 6) in Midland, Mich., the Ashland University softball team relied on a two-three combo to knock off Ferris State, 5-4 in the second round of the GLIAC Tournament.

            With the win, Ashland goes to 31-15 overall and is one of two undefeated teams in the tournament.  The Eagles will play the other team without a loss in this double-elimination affair, Tiffin, on Saturday (May 7) at 11 a.m.  Tiffin is 37-12 after beating Grand Valley State, 2-1 late Friday afternoon.

            Ashland had six hits against the Bulldogs and three of them came from the duo that hits second and third in the order – shortstop Bri Woody (Cleveland, Ohio/Magnificat) and third baseman Alyssa Kelley (Mentor, Ohio).

            Woody, who bats second, was 1-for-3 with two RBI and Kelley was 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs.  Kelley leads the Eagles with 16 multi-hit games and she is tied with Woody for the team lead in multi-RBI games (9).

            Kelley has hit third all season. Woody began the year hitting lower in the order, usually sixth. The coaching staff elevated her to the second spot midway through the year and since making that change, AU has gone 23-14. 

            Against Ferris State, Kelley knocked in a run in each of the first two innings. AU was in front, 3-0 after two innings.  Ferris State responded with three runs in the top of the third inning. All of the runs came with two outs.  Makenzi Peterson had a two-run double to left-center field and the GLIAC player of the year, Chelsea Morris singled to left field to bring home the other tally.  That was the first hit for Morris against AU this season. In three games against the Eagles she is 1-for-9.

            AU wiped out that 3-2 FSU advantage and took the lead for good with two runs in the third inning.  The inning began with a single by catcher Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale).  After that, the key hit came from Woody, who yanked a 0-2 pitch with two outs into left-center field to drive in two runs. 

            The Bulldogs (23-21) scored their final run in the fourth inning when second baseman Lainee Clay singled to bring home catcher Rachel Mueller, who had doubled.  Through four innings, the Bulldogs had five hits. They got one more over the last three innings against junior Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio), who pitched her second complete game of the day.  Knerem is 24-6. That win total is a career high.  This was her 25th complete game of the year. That's the fifth best single-season total at AU. A year ago Knerem hurled 27 complete games (the third best single-season total in school history).

            Knerem allowed four runs, one earned, on six hits. She did not walk a batter and struck out eight.

            Ferris State starter Dana Bowler went the distance and fell to 15-10.  She allowed five runs, three earned, on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts.  This was her second loss this season against the Eagles. On a frigid day at Brookside Park (Mar. 27), the Eagles got to her for seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in 3.2 innings.

            The Eagles are 3-0 against Ferris State this season. Entering this tournament, FSU was one of the hottest teams in the conference.  Now AU gets a Tiffin team that is ranked second in the region. Last weekend, the Eagles were swept in a four-game series at Tiffin.