Lady Leopards Reign Ends at Green 10-1 – Softball
#6 Green 10, #17 Louisville 1
The #17 Seed Louisville Leopards Varsity Softball Team fell to the #6 Seed Green Bulldogs Wednesday in the DI Massillon Sectional Finals held at Green High School. With the loss, Louisville finishes the 2021 campaign with a winning record of 13-12.
Stillwagon Bats 4-for-4 to Lead Louisville
Senior first baseman Lauren Stillwagon had half of the Lady Leopards hits in ending her varsity career with a perfect 4-for-4 performance at the plate. Her infield single to lead off the top of the fourth led to Louisville’s only run of the contest.
Stillwagon was replaced by pinch runner MaKenzie Miller who advanced to second base via freshman third baseman Kenzi Denzer’s sacrifice bunt to third. With two outs, sophomore second baseman Shelby Mayle singled on a line drive to left field that sent Miller to the plate from second. Miller beat the throw to the plate to chop the Green lead to 4-1 and Mayle slid safely into second.
Leopards Leave the Bases Loaded Twice
Following Mayle’s RBI single, junior right fielder Brooke Brendle walked and junior catcher Kat Frase singled to left field to load the bases. However, Bulldogs pitcher Jenna Pulley got out of the inning via a strikeout in the next at-bat as Louisville left the bases loaded.
Later in the fifth inning, the Leopards recorded two quick outs before loading the bases again. Pulley again got out of the jam with a line out to center field. Louisville would leave 8 runners stranded for the game, which would all but be the difference in the final score.
Collinsworth and Duskey Lead Green
The Lady Bulldogs were led by center fielder Ella Collinsworth and left fielder Kayley Duskey who both batted 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and each scored a pair of runs. Catcher Kylie Gorsuch also finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate for Green.
Collinsworth doubled to lead-off the Bulldog first inning and scored the game’s first run via shortstop Maddie Pukansky’s single to centerfield. Gorsuch singled home Pukansky two pitches later to double the GHS margin. Then Duskey doubled to left field bringing home courtesy runner Emily Kolesar to put Green ahead 3-0 at the end of the first inning.
Collinsworth upped the Lady Bulldogs lead to 4-0 with a solo home run to left field in the second inning. Later in the fourth inning, Collinsworth singled on a hard ground ball to right field that brought home right fielder Carlie Chapman from second base to put Green in front 6-1. Earlier in the inning, Chapman recorded an RBI single that brought home second baseman Mallory Gearhart, who had led off the inning with a double.
The Lady Bulldogs continued to add to their lead with a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Duskey singled in Kolesar to make it 7-1. Then Gearhart laid down a perfect bunt in front of the plate as Duskey charged home from third and beat the throw to the dish to put Green up 8-1.
Both of the Bulldogs sixth inning runs came via 2-out RBI hits. First baseman Elyssa Paine singled home third baseman Brooke Heisroth from second base. Then Kolesar doubled to right field bringing home Duskey from second. The hit also put the game-clinching run in Paine at third. However, the next hitter flew out to Brendle in right field which secured a full seven innings would be played.
Pulley Strikes Out 7 in Complete Game Effort
Pulley would finish going the distance working all 7 innings, giving up just 1 earned run on 8 hits, and striking out 7.
Benson Sets New Lady Leopards Softball Records
Freshman shortstop Matti Benson recorded the Lady Leopards only extra base-hit of the game on a 2-out double in the third inning. As a result of that hit, she became the first player in Louisville Softball history to hit over .600 for the season (with 50 plate appearances or more). Benson finished with a batting average of .609 for the year breaking Desi Givens record average of .588 previously set in 2011. The double also allowed her to to slug 1.046 for the season which in turn enabled her to surpass the previous mark of 1.040 set by Kaycee Ollis in the state championship year of 2019. Benson also surpassed Ollis’ 2019 OPS record of 1.598 by finishing with an OPS of 1.690 for the year.
Louisville Vs. Green Softball Series
The loss snaps the Lady Leopards 6-game winning streak against the Lady Bulldogs, which included winning three consecutive DI Massillon Sectional Final games against Green. This is the Bulldogs first win over Louisville since the last time the Lady Leopards traveled to Green in 2009 for another DI Massillon Sectional Final matchup. The Lady Bulldogs won that game 9-2.
The Lady Leopards still lead the all-time series 6-4 overall, but are winless when playing at Green all-time at 0-3. All three of those road matchups, including their first tournament in 1993, came in the DI sectional tournament. As a result, the overall series is now tied at an even 3-3 all-time in postseason play with the home team winning every matchup.
Lady Leopards Tournament History
The loss snaps Louisville’s all-time best 8-game tournament winning streak overall and 6-game sectional tournament winning streak dating back to 2016. The 2015 season was the last time the Lady Leopards did not punch their ticket to Massillon for the district tournament until this season.
Louisville is now 42-35 all-time in postseason play, which includes a 10-16 record when playing on the road and a 29-24 when competing in Division I.
VARSITY SOFTBALL BOX SCORE
BULLDOGS 10, LEOPARDS 1
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS SOFTBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS SOFTBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS
GREEN BULLDOGS SOFTBALL VARSITY BATTING STATS
GREEN BULLDOGS SOFTBALL VARSITY PITCHING STATS
Records: Louisville 13-12