March 13, 2010


Cortland drops two for starters

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — There are easier ways to get a softball season underway.
Coach Julie Lenhart knew her nationally sixth-ranked SUNY Cortland squad was going to face stiff challenges right away at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic upon leaving snowy Central New York for the sunshine state relatively untested.
The Red Dragons certainly had their hands full on Friday.
First, an undefeated University of Texas Tyler squad ranked second in the nation and already winners six times this season handed the Red Dragons an 11-3 loss.
The Red Dragons were then edged out by Williamette University of Oregon 6-5 — squandering an 11-8 hit advantage.
Cortland (0-2) will play La Verne University of California today at 1 p.m., with another opponent to be determined. The tournament will conclude with two more games on Sunday.
Texas Tyler 11, Cortland 3: Texas Tyler — a Division III World Series team along with Cortland last spring — was led by Whitney Wyly, who finished 3-for-4 with a homer, walk and three RBI. Joey Cronin went 2-for-3 with a triple and drove in three runs. Winning pitcher Kimber Bossom allowed three hits, seven walks and two unearned runs while striking out three over five innings of work.
Juniors Donnalyn Cross and Brooke Weidman each went 2-for-3 to account for four of Cortland’s five hits. Cross also drew a walk and scored twice. Senior hurler Katie Finch suffered the loss after allowing nine hits, three walks and nine runs, seven earned, in 6-1/3 innings.
The Patriots scored twice in the top of the first when Wyly, the NCAA Division III leader last season with 18 home runs, hit a two-run round-tripper to right field. Finch hit the first three batters in the second, and a wild pitch plated a run. She escaped with only one run scoring after the Red Dragons used a fielder’s choice and a double play to end the inning.
Cortland trailed 4-0 before scoring twice in the bottom of the fifth. Weidman singled and Cross walked. Following a strikeout and a fielder’s choice, Emily Ringen hit a ball to left that was misplayed to allow two runs to score.
The Patriots picked up a run in the sixth on a Wyly RBI single and broke the game open with six runs in the top of the seventh. The big hits in the inning were Cronin’s three-run triple and a Brittanni Hanna run-scoring double. Cortland’s final run came on a Kayla Lynch sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh.
Willamette 6, Cortland 5: The Red Dragons scored three times in the top of the fifth inning on a Lynch two-run homer and an RBI triple by freshman Danielle Groneman to tie the game at 4-4.
Willamette (2-0) took the lead for good with two runs in the fifth. Nichole Robertson’s single plated one run, with another run scoring on the play when Robertson intentionally got into a rundown between first and second long enough for the runner from third to score.
Cortland got a run back in the top of the seventh but left the bases loaded. Ringen, Jessica Harman and Groneman all singled with one out and Katie Fusco drew a two-out walk to force in a run.
A groundout, however, ended the game. Groneman finished 2-for-3 with a walk and Weidman and sophomore Harman were each 2-for-4.
Sophomore Lyndsay Rowell pitched a complete game for Cortland and allowed six runs, four earned.