The Lady Royals saw their promising season come to close a Saturday in the ODAC Tournament, dropping a 2-1 decision to top-seeded Virginia Wesleyan. No. 6 EMU scored once in the top of the seventh, but left the bases loaded to exit the tourney in the final four for the second straight year.
Eastern Mennonite ends the 2012 season with a 27-13 record, also identical to last year's team. The 27 wins are the second most in program history.
Unlike the regular season meetings between VWC and Eastern Mennonite, in which the teams combined to score 21 and 19 runs in the two games, the ODAC Tournament game was a pitcher's duel.
The Marlins struck first, sneaking in both of their runs in the bottom of the first. After a lead off double and walk, a sacrifice put both VWC runners in scoring position. A fly ball to right field was deep enough to score one run as a sacrifice fly, but Jordan Aylor (Madison, VA/Madison County) misplayed the ball, allowing the batter to reach as well.
Pitcher Lisa Lee (Buckingham, VA/Buckingham County) got a strikeout for the second out, but VWC then attempted a delayed double steal. The Lady Royals went for the runner at second but the throw from catcher Rasheeda Crews (Brookneal, VA/William Campbell) was not good enough and the runner at third came sprinting home to make it 2-0.
Offensively, EMU struggled against Marlins' pitcher MacKenzie Creech, getting just one base runner in the first four innings. Crews led off the fifth with a single and moved to third on back-to-back ground outs. A walk put two runners on, but Creech got a strikeout to escape unscathed.
Lee gave up a lead-off double in the bottom of the frame, but got three quick outs to strand the runner.
In the top of the sixth, the powerful Lady Royals were hurt by the big field dimensions of Moyer Complex. Both Lee and Molly Smith (Elkton, VA/Spotswood) sent deep drives to the center field fence, but both came up just short of clearing, keeping the women off the scoreboard.
Lee escaped another jam in the bottom of the sixth, giving EMU one more shot. Courtney Allman (Mt. Solon, VA/Fort Defiance) quickly got things rolling with a lead-off single up the middle. Crews reached on a fielder's choice and took second on a throwing error. Sara Jenkins (Stanley, VA/Page County) then shot a single to left and Crews raced around to score and cut the lead in half, 2-1.
Virginia Wesleyan brought in Kristina Karagiorgis to pitch, but she walked the first batter she faced, Megan Viafora (Stanley, VA/Page County). After Taylor Sellars (Powhatan, VA/Powhatan) struck out for the second out, Aylor beat out an infield roller to load the bases. Brooke Hensley (Elkton, VA/Spotswood) stepped to the plate and had the count full, but sent a chopper to short and the force out at second cut off the rally and ended EMU's season.
The Lady Royals had a small 5-3 edge in hits, including three in their final inning. Aylor led the way by going 2-3. Crews was 1-3 with the only run and Jenkins was 1-3 with the RBI. Allman had the other hit.
Lee pitched a complete game, allowing three hits and three walks. Only one of the two runs was earned.
The offense completed another record-breaking season, most notably shattering the team homerun mark with 49 homers. Last year's team had hit 39 long balls to nearly double the previous EMU record. The women have been second in the nation as a team all season. Allman also broke her own record for individual homers, leading the team with nine this year.
Seniors Lisa Lee, Megan Viafora and Rasheeda Crews all played their final game for Eastern Mennonite.