Green Bay Wraps Up Season At Conference Tournament
CHICAGO, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – The No. 4 seed Green Bay softball team participated in the opening round of the 2016 Horizon League Tournament on Wednesday afternoon, falling against No. 5 seed Cleveland State (5-2) and No. 3 seed Youngstown State (5-3) at Flames Field on the campus of UIC. As a result, the Phoenix ends its season with a final mark of 21-33.
Green Bay fell victim to a pair of four-run first innings, which ultimately proved to be all the Vikings (20-30) and Penguins (30-20) needed to advance onto Thursday's second round games.
Cleveland State 5, Green Bay 2
The Vikings put each of the first seven hitters on base, five coming on base hits, forcing a Green Bay pitching change before the Phoenix could even record an out. After freshman Bailey Smaney replaced fellow first-year player Sara Simonar, Green Bay was able to get out of the inning, but not before CSU hung four runs up on the board.
The Phoenix cut its deficit in half in the third after a RBI fielder's choice by shortstop Kelli Hutchinson was followed up by a sac fly from right fielder Acacia Tupa to make it 4-2.
Unfortunately for Green Bay, the remainder of the game proved to be a pitcher's duel, as Vikings’ ace Susan Knight (7 IP, 2 ER) allowed just two hits over her final four innings of work to get the win.
Smaney (7.0, 1 ER) finished with a complete game, surrendering just one run in the sixth on a RBI groundout.
YSU 5, Green Bay 3
After watching Valparaiso defeat Youngstown State 10-6 in the second game of the day, the Phoenix went right back to work against the Penguins, who provided the same first-inning offense as CSU.
In the nightcap, in nearly identical fashion, YSU put five straight runners on against Smaney– scoring four times on three doubles– before Green Bay's Katie Rossmann came on and retired the Penguins in order to end the threat.
After YSU added an insurance run in the fourth on a steal of home by senior Miranda Castiglione, the Phoenix finally broke through off Paige Geanangel in the sixth. After a Tupa walk and an Allie Taylor double, Brennan Engel singled in a run, before Katelyn Huemmer's sac fly made it 5-2.
Once again; however, the Green Bay comeback ran out of gas, as Caitlyn Minney replaced Geanangel in the seventh and induced back-to-back fielder's choices followed by a strikeout to end it.
Like Smaney in Game One, Rossmann (6.0, 1 ER) also finished with a complete game, surrendering her only run on the aforementioned steal of home.
Phoenix head coach Beth Spoehr will now look ahead to a 2016-17 campaign in which Green Bay returns eight position players – minus the senior Hutchinson – including its entire starting rotation from this past season.