By Caleb Scott
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Ohio Northern softball team defeated Illinois College 3-2, before suffering its first loss of the season 6-3 to Westminster (Pa.) during the Sunkissed Games in Kissimmee, Fla. on Thursday afternoon.
The Polar Bears move to 7-1 on the season, while the Lady Blues fall to 3-4 and the Titans improve to 3-5.
Senior Jenna Hollar (Lima/Bath) paced the Polar Bears offensively with a combined five hits, five runs scored, and two stolen bases to lead ONU in the two contests.
In the first contest of the day, sophomore Gabby Stewart (Union, Ky./St. Henry) hit a sac fly to left field and scored Hollar to give ONU an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
IC answered and took the lead in the bottom half of the inning, posting two runs to take a 2-1 lead.
After three scoreless innings, Northern regained the lead following a double from Swierz that plated Hollar and what would prove to be the game-winning hit as Stewart pushed Swierz across home plate with a ground-rule double down the left field line to help ONU seal the 3-2 victory.
Senior Kirsten Lightel (Tallmadge) stayed perfect on the season, improving her record to 4-0 in the pitchers circle after striking out eight batters and only giving up three hits in a complete game.
In the second contest of the afternoon, senior Leanna Henry (West Jefferson) received an RBI after getting walked in the bottom of the first inning to force Hollar home and give Northern a 1-0 lead.
ONU added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth after a Westminster fielding error allowed Hollar to score yet again and give Northern a 2-0 lead.
The Titans rallied in the top half of the seventh inning with a 3-run home run to take a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the seventh inning.
The Polar Bears were able to force extra innings as Henry plated Hollar with an RBI single to left field.
After an RBI single in the top of the eighth, Westminster capped the victory with a 2-run home run as it went on to win 6-3.
The Polar Bears return to action tomorrow afternoon with matchups against WPI (Mass.) and Saint Joseph's (Maine) at 3:45 p.m and 6 p.m., respectively.