ELSAH, Ill. -- A record-setting season ended Saturday for the Lady Panther softball team as the squad placed second at the SLIAC postseason tournament. The team was dropped by Fontbonne 6-1 in the championship. The unit ended their season with an overall record of 30-14. The 30 wins marked the third highest win total in program history, trailing only the 1985 Greenville team that won 35 and the 1986 team which had 33 victories. This is the highest win total since G.C. joined the NCAA in 1995.
Greenville entered the tournament as the second seed following a season stretch that saw them win 15 of 20 games leading into the event. In their first game of the tournament on Thursday against Spalding, the Lady Panthers were defeated 4-0, putting them in the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament. The squad had swept Spalding in their previous matchup in March.
Ashley Woodrome opened the game in the circle for Greenville, holding Spalding scoreless through the first two innings. Spalding's bats came alive in the third inning as a one-out double by Alyssa McAfee set the table for Peyton French who hit an RBI single. After a single by Paige French, Kelsey McDowell came up with a run-scoring double to give Spalding a 2-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, Spalding scored two more runs on a Becca Mouser two-run home run after Kelci Flener had been hit by a pitch.
Flener, the conference pitcher of the year, shut out Greenville on five hits and one walk while she struck out six in raising her record to 25-8.
Woodrome allowed four runs on 11 hits, including two walks. She struck out three and picked up the loss to fall to 9-7.
Greenville didn't get their first hit of the contest until Tiffany Samsoe singled in the fourth inning.
The Lady Panthers threatened in the bottom of the fifth when Jessie Finke and Danielle Helms put together back-to-back singles, but Flener got Anaya Tobiason to pop up to first base to end the rally.
In the bottom of the sixth, Mattie Fairchild singled and Samsoe tripled, but Fairchild was thrown out at home trying to score.
Samsoe posted two of Greenville's five hits.
After the first game loss to Spalding, Greenville played Westminster in a contest on Thursday night. Greenville topped Westminster for the third time this season with a 7-2 win.
Westminster's bats came alive early as they took a 2-0 first inning lead. Allison Biggs hit a two run home run after Briana Peterson reached safely on an error by Fairchild.
Greenville answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first on a bases loaded groundout to second base by Jessica Laubecher. The Lady Panthers filled the bases after Bryn McKie reached on an error by the shortstop and Fairchild and Becca Oldham were hit by pitches.
Greenville took the lead in the bottom of the second on a two-run single by McKie that scored Shannon Elbe and Shelby Cash.
The game remained with a one-run Greenville advantage until the bottom of the sixth when the Lady Panthers rallied with four runs. A leadoff walk to Finke was followed by an Elbe single and a sacrifice bunt by Cash. McKie doubled to plate Tobiason who pinch ran for Finke. Fairchild hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Elbe, and Samsoe singled in McKie. After Oldham singled Samsoe to third base and took second on throw, a passed ball allowed Samsoe to score.
Oldham picked up her team-high 11th win as she pitched six innings for Greenville. She allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and struck out five to move to 11-1.
Hannah Burger relieved Oldham and threw a perfect seventh inning.
McKie, Oldham, and Elbe all had two hits for Greenville. McKie and Elbe scored twice, and McKie had two RBI.
Returning to action Friday, the Lady Panthers squared up with Spalding, who had lost their game to Fontbonne earlier Friday. In a repeat matchup with Spalding, Greenville came out on top with 3-1 win to eliminate Spalding. The win was Greenville's 30th of the season.
Greenville put all of its runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning against Spalding starter Cortney Miller. A leadoff single by McKie and a passed ball put McKie on second with nobody out. Fairchild came up with an RBI double as McKie scored. After a double by Samsoe put runners on second and third, Oldham hit into a fielder's choice to second base as Fairchild crossed the plate and Samsoe went to third. Later a passed ball allowed Samsoe to score.
Spalding eventually replaced Miller with Flener in the second inning, but Greenville's damage was already enough. Flener shut out Greenville for the remaining four and two-thirds innings on three hits with three strikeouts. Miller picked up the loss to lower her record to 4-5.
Hannah Burger pitched the complete game for Greenville, only allowing one unearned run in the seventh inning. She permitted five hits, walked one, and struck out two as she improved her record to 4-4.
Burger found herself in trouble in the top of the seventh but settled down after a leadoff walk by Flener and a Mouser double. An error on Burger allowed Flener to score, and the game ended on a groundout to Fairchild with runners on first and third.
Samsoe was a perfect three-for-three in her plate appearances.
The victory on Friday set up a showdown with Fontbonne in the tournament championship on Saturday. It would have taken two wins by Greenville to win the tourney, but Fontbonne ended Greenville's NCAA tournament dreams with a 6-1 win in its first opportunity.
Fontbonne jumped ahead early with two runs in the bottom of the first. Shannon Fitzpatrick led off with a walk and stole second base. Marissa Simon singled and went to second on an error by leftfielder Elbe as Fitzpatrick scored their first run. With two outs, Simon stole third and scored on an errant throw by catcher Finke.
In the third inning, Fontbonne added a tally on a RBI double by Danielle Glixman. The inning was set up when Simon singled and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cassandra Glixman.
Fontbonne got its fourth run in the fourth after Cara Hargate singled, went to second on an error by centerfielder McKie, and was doubled home by Lindsay Schaefer.
Fontbonne added its final runs in the bottom of the sixth. Emily Smith and Schaefer singled and advanced on a passed ball. Simon came through with a two-run single as Smith and Schaefer crossed the plate.
In the final at-bat of her four-year career, Fairchild homered with two outs in the top of the seventh to give Greenville its run.
Oldham picked up the pitching loss to lower her record to 11-2 as she threw four innings, permitting three earned runs and one unearned run on four hits and three walks. She had three strikeouts. Burger closed the game with two innings, giving Fontbonne two runs on three hits.
Madison Leonard threw the complete game for Fontbonne as she raised her record to 16-3. She hurled seven innings, giving up six hits and one run. She struck out 10 and allowed four walks.
Fairchild was a perfect four-for-four for Greenville.
The event announced its all-tournament team upon completion of the event. Leonard was given tournament MVP honors. Smith, Fitzpatrick, and Schaefer of Fontbonne joined Leonard with all-tournament honors. Samsoe, Burger, and Fairchild represented Greenville on the squad. Mouser and Flener were Spalding's choices, and Brittany Lee of Westminster rounded out the team.
Samsoe hit .500 on a 6-of-12 performance at the plate with a double, triple, and RBI. She scored twice and walked twice.
Fairchild posted a .462 batting average on six hits in 13 at bats. She scored two runs, hit two doubles and a home run, and drove in three runs.
Burger contributed a 1.40 ERA in 10 innings of work. She was 1-0. She only allowed two earned runs and threw a complete game against Spalding as Greenville faced elimination.