FRANKLIN, Ind. – On Sunday (Apr. 22) afternoon, the Franklin College softball team welcomed Defiance College to Behrens Field for the team's final Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) home games of the season.
Powered by a dominant start from Olivia Paszek and some clutch hitting from the top of the lineup, the Grizzlies (23-7, 10-4 HCAC) rolled to a 7-0 win in game one. Game two featured an old-fashioned pitcher's duel that needed extra innings to decide a winner. But the Yellow Jackets (19-9, 7-3 HCAC) denied the Grizzlies a sweep, stealing a 2-1 win an eight-inning affair.
In addition to the final conference home games of the year, it was also Senior Day at the ballpark. Prior to the game, fans, coaches and fellow teammates honored seniors Lauren Huebler, Alexis Tarver, Megan Goebel, Morgan Burch, Grace Paszek and Olivia Paszek.
Game One: Franklin 7 – Defiance 0
After being held silent through the first two innings, the Franklin offense came alive in the bottom of the third inning. With the bags full and two outs in the inning, Natalie Weber opened the scoring with a single back up the middle, scoring Lexi Gaffney and Shelby Mager to make it 2-0.
One inning later, the Grizzlies broke game one wide open. Monica Collins singled a run home and Mager followed up with a two-run single of her own. Tarver completed the scoring in the fourth with an infield single, scoring Mager from third to make it a 6-0 game. Tarver would add to the lead in the sixth, bringing home Collins with a sacrifice fly to extend her conference leading RBI total to 37.
It proved to be more than enough support for Olivia Paszek (14-1), who limited a high-powered Defiance offense to just three hits on her way to her fourth shutout of the season. The senior ace did not walk a batter and recorded a pair of strikeouts, needing just 83 pitches to complete the game.
Game Two: Defiance 2 – Franklin 1 (8 inn.)
The night cap featured a back-and-forth duel between Franklin's Kayla Selzer and Defiance's Sydney Zeuch, as both hurlers kept the game scoreless through seven innings. Franklin had a pair of golden opportunities to break the tie with three hits in the second and a bases loaded situation with one out in the seventh, but each time Zeuch was able to wiggle out of trouble.
Defiance broke the scoreless tie with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the eighth inning. Franklin would draw within a run in the bottom of the eighth on a sac fly from Weber, but the rally fell just short.
Selzer (9-5) was brilliant in the circle for the Grizzlies, scattering seven hits, walking one and striking out two without allowing an earned run. Grace Paszek and Justice Carmichael each had two hits in the night cap for Franklin.
The Grizzlies hit the road for their final conference games of the regular season on Wednesday (Apr. 25) afternoon, taking on the Hanover Panthers. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.