Back-to-Back Dramatic Victories Extend Foresters' Season
The Lake Forest College softball team held on for a 7-6 victory over Fontbonne University and came back to win 3-2 against Anderson University in the NCAA Regional Tournament on Saturday. Forester freshman pitcher Jenny McTague earned a save against Fontbonne and the victory after hitting a walk-off single versus Anderson.
Lake Forest and Fontbonne combined for seven home runs in the first elimination game of the three-day tournament. The Griffins belted back-to-back-to-back round-trippers in the top of the first inning but a two-run shot by sophomore first baseman Sally Snarski pulled the Foresters back to within a run. It was the 11th home run of the season for Snarski, matching the program record Christy Condon set in 2007 and repeated a year later.
Senior shortstop Sam Ritsema, who was on base for Snarski's homer, added a long-ball of her own with the bases loaded in the second inning. The home run was her seventh of the season and made her just the third player in program history with at least 20 round-trippers in a career.
Fontbonne scored once in both the fourth and fifth innings to cut the Forester lead to a single run. Sophomore third baseman Kaleigh Ambrose then hit a home run in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 7-5.
Lake Forest sophomore pitcher Jessi Werner pitched the first six innings and earned the win, raising her record on the year to 14-7. Her victory total ranks third in team history. McTague came on and allowed an unearned run in the seventh for her first career save.
The final two outs of the game occured on the same play. Trailing 7-5, Fontbonne had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the seventh inning. The Griffins plated one run on a groundout to second and tried to tie the game on the same play but Snarski fired home and sophomore catcher Maddie Dieleman tagged out the runner to end the game.
The end of the Foresters' victory over Anderson was even more dramatic. Trailing 2-1, Lake Forest got the final out of the top of the seventh inning when a Raven baserunner was out trying to score on a ball that got past Dieleman. Snarski drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the inning and was replaced on the bases by freshman Raquel Ness. Ness advanced to second on a groundout but was still there when freshman rightfielder Tara Airola came to the plate with two outs. Airola singled in Ness with the tying run and advanced to second when the ball was misplayed by the centerfielder. McTague was up next and her base hit to right-center plated Airola with the winning run.
McTague allowed just three base hits in the contest, two during a two-run first inning and one in the seventh. She raised her recod on the season to 13-2.
The Foresters scored their other run in the fifth inning on Ambrose's second homer of the day and season.
Lake Forest is now 28-9 on the year, matching the 2004 squad for the second-highest single-season victory total in program history. Fontbonne, which entered the NCAA Tournament ranked 21st in the nation, finished the year 34-8 and Anderson's final record is 30-9.
The Foresters will take on host Illinois Wesleyan University, the 10th-ranked team in the country, at noon on Sunday and will need to defeat the Titans twice to win the tournament.