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Phoenix women fall short of playoffs

Dan Turczynski, Sports Writer
May 8, 2013
Filed under Sports, Top Stories

It was a wild weekend in Green Bay for the UW-Green Bay softball team.

Entering the weekend, the Phoenix were 12-25 and 5-12 in Horizon League. The team needed to sweep the University of Detroit Titans in their three-game weekend series. The Phoenix also had to have Valparaiso beat Youngstown State in all three games in their series for the Phoenix to be the No. 6 and final seed in the upcoming Horizon League Softball Tournament.

After not being able to play a single game at home the entire season, the Phoenix welcomed the fact that they would be able to play three home games to finish up the season.

“Playing game after game on the road is tiring,” said Phoenix head coach Jean Rivett. “We’re certainly just happy we were able to play at home once this season.”

The Phoenix won game one of the series 5-4 in eight innings.

Junior Miranda Reinke ended the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly.

Standout freshmen Marissa Michalkiewicz finished the game 2-for-3, including an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning, which tied the game at 4-4 and sent it to extra innings.

Valparaiso also defeated Youngstown State in their first game 6-3 to keep the Phoenix’s season alive.

In game two, the Phoenix and Titans played another classic.

The Titans took a late lead in the sixth inning after a two-RBI double gave the Titans a 2-1 lead. However, the Phoenix refused to go away.

In the bottom of the sixth inning freshmen Ashley Baker had an RBI single, which plated freshmen Kelli Hutchinson and tied the game at 2-2.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Phoenix loaded the bases up with one out and looked to end the game. Titans’ pitcher Kat Hoffman hit Hutchinson in the leg with the pitch, which resulted in a Phoenix walk-off, hit-by-pitch 3-2 win.

Again, Valparaiso was able to defeat Youngstown State in the second game 5-0 to keep the Phoenix’s season alive.

That season came down to one game May 5.

A 5-0 Phoenix win Sunday put them one step closer to the playoffs. However, they needed some help to make from Valparaiso one last time.

Valparaiso took a 2-1 lead into the top of the seventh inning but was unable to close out the game. Youngstown State tied the game at 2-2.

In extra innings the two teams went back and forth, but Youngstown State went on to win the game 3-2 in 11 innings, ending the Phoenix’s season.

With their season coming to end, the Phoenix said goodbye to its senior class.

Senior Danielle Peerenboom has been a leader and a contributor for the Phoenix since her freshmen season and said she will miss Phoenix softball.

“I’ll miss my teammates and the friendships I’ve made the last four years,” Peerenboom said. “It’s going to be weird not playing and practicing next year.”

It has been a tough season both physically and mentally for the Phoenix softball team.

Senior Jessica Hrncar lost her mother earlier in the season and the team dedicated the season to the Hrncar family. The Hrncar family threw out the first pitch in memory of Hrncar’s mother May 5. The support Hrncar has received this season has overwhelmed her.

“My teammates and coaches have been supportive all season,” Hrncar said. “Losing my mom was extremely tough, but the support I’ve received has been a blessing.”

The Phoenix finished the season 15-25 and 8-12 in Horizon League, being .5 game back of Youngstown State for the final playoff spot in the Horizon League Tournament.