Jessup, PA – Saturday afternoon, the Lackawanna College softball team scored five runs in their half of the fourth inning, to propel them to an 8-5 win over Mercyhurst North East, in the opening game of the NJCAA District K best of three series. The second game of tourney was lost to Mother Nature, as a persistent rain left the field unplayable. That contest will now be played Sunday morning at 10 AM.
In the opener, Lackawanna took a 2-1 lead in the first inning, when Brenda Reninga drove in two runs with her initial single of the game. Mercyhurst took back the lead in the top of the third on Lei Guthrie's three run homer. Lackawanna cut into the Mercyhurst's 4-2 lead in the bottom of the inning, when Barbara Verrastro contributed a solo homer. Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth, the Lackawanna bats exploded for five runs on an RBI fielder's choice contributed by Kacey Orlowsi, RBI singles by both Ashley Rzesewski and Marina Pegula and a Sierra Mulgrew single that drove in two Falcon runners. Grace Edwards contributed a solo home run for the Saints in the top of the seventh, but it was too little, too late, as Lackawanna claimed the victory.
Verrastro was Lackawanna's winning pitcher. She held Mercyhurst to their five runs on seven hits over seven innings. Verrastro also added four strikeouts. The win was her thirteenth of the season and leaves her with a 13-6 record.
Lackawanna batters had ten hits, with Mulgrew and Reninga each contributing two hits. Mulgrew singled and doubled in four plate appearances while scoring once and driving in those two important RBIs in the fourth inning. Reninga singled twice in two at bats and drove in Lackawanna's initial two runs in the first inning and scored the Falcons' first run in the crucial fourth inning rally. The Falcons only extra base hits were Mulgrew's first inning double and Verrastro's third inning homer.
A win in tomorrow's 10 AM game will put the Falcons in the in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Softball Tournament played at Traceway Park in Clinton, Mississippi, May 17-20, 2017. A loss will mean they will have to play Mercyhurst again in the District's winner take all game three. Both Game two and Game three, if needed, will be played tomorrow at the Jessup Youth Sports Association Complex in Jessup, Pennsylvania.