Most people have demons they struggle with. For some, it's too much food. For others it's too much spending.
For the Ashland University softball team, that demon was too much Wayne State. Over the years, the Warriors have been a consistently tough foe for the Eagles. Friday (May 3) in the first round of the GLIAC softball tournament at Findlay, the Eagles played like the devil and nipped the Wayne State, 5-4 in eight innings.
That victory seemed to electrify the Eagles, who followed that up with a 3-1 win over second-seeded Ferris State. Ashland, the third seed in this tournament and the sixth-ranked team in the region, will square off against top-seeded and ninth-ranked Grand Valley State on Saturday (May 4) in Findlay. Neither team has a loss in this double-elimination tournament. This tournament runs through Sunday.
The Eagles are 27-16 and have won seven of their last eight games.
Sophomore Amber McDermott (Creston, Ohio/Norwayne) proved to be an iron horse on Friday. She pitched a complete game against Wayne State, (24-20), holding the Warriors to four runs (two earned) on 12 hits. She started the second game and worked six innings, allowing a run on six hits. Thanks to Friday's two wins, McDermott is 11-4. Sophomore Sarah Alley (Milford, Ohio) pitched a scoreless seventh inning against the Bulldogs to pick up her first save of the season.
AU had lost both ends of a doubleheader to Wayne State in Detroit on Apr. 21. The Eagles lost those games, 2-1 and 8-5. On Friday, the Eagles demonstrated some impressive resiliency. They trailed, 3-1 after four innings. AU went ahead, 4-3 with three runs in the fourth. WSU bounced back to tie the game, 4-4 with a run in the fifth.
Ashland won the game in the bottom of the eighth inning when left fielder Carly West (Ashland, Ohio/Hillsdale) led off with a single. West advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Tawna Garver (Mansfield, Ohio/Hillsdale). Shortstop Jamie Weber (Orient, Ohio/Teays Valley) reached on an infield single that moved West to third.
The Warriors intentionally walked third baseman Jerrica Young (Loudonville, Ohio) and then second baseman Cayla Seidler (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon Washington) reached on a fielder's choice. On that play, West was thrown out at home plate. The game ended when freshman designated player Jen Moore (Jeromesville, Ohio/Hillsdale) slapped a single to left-center field. Moore was named All-GLIAC second team on Friday.
That three-run fourth inning the Eagles produced included a two-run homer by Young. That was Young's team-leading 10th homer of the season. Weber knocked in a run with a double in the frame.
Briana Lee (8-14) took the loss. In eight innings, she allowed five runs (four earned) on 13 hits. Logan White went 3-for-5 for WSU and Jade McGarr, Lee and Stephanie Foreman had two hits apiece.
AU's win in the second game Friday was the Eagles' third over Ferris State this season. On Mar. 23 at Brookside Park, the Eagles swept the Bulldogs, 6-5 and 11-1. In this game, AU scored three times in the first inning. Two runs in the inning scored on a single by right fielder Kourtney Yarnall (Canton, Ohio/Perry).
The Bulldogs' lone run came in the fourth inning. Morgan Kramerich doubled down the left-field line and scored on a two-out single by Lainee Clay.
For the most part, this was a game dominated by the pitchers. Both teams had six hits. The loss went to Dana Bowler (20-7), who allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings.
First baseman Franki Gironda (Akron, Ohio/Hoban) was the lone Ashland player to collect more than one hit. She was 2-for-4.
Ashland and Grand Valley State played in Ashland on Mar. 24. GVSU took a doubleheader from the Eagles, winning 10-5 and 6-4. GVSU is 38-4, 24-2 in conference play.