COLUMBIA, Mo. – Cliché in sports are a dime a dozen. That neither team deserved to lose a well-played game ranks at the top of that list, but it rang fairly true as the Oregon State softball team’s NCAA Regional elimination matchup with Hofstra dragged into extra innings.
With the plot of a dramatic victory taking shape as the sun began to set over the Midwestern plains, Hofstra strayed from the movie-script ending with a five-run 10th inning to end the Beavers’ season with an 8-4 victory.
The game took some interesting turns to get the teams into extra innings. The Beavers (34-24) were able to keep Hofstra (45-12) off the board early. With runners at first and second in the third, a surefire single up the middle with two outs found its way into the glove of a diving Elizabeth Santana. With no play at a base, a prone Santana flipped to second baseman Ya Garcia at the bag as the lead runner rounded third. The throw to Ally Kutz beat her in plenty of time to end the inning, keeping the game scoreless.
In the Hofstra fourth, the first two runners reached and were sacrificed into scoring position. But starter Tina Andreana got a strikeout and made a nice stop on a comebacker to retire the side. Hofstra finally broke through for three runs in the fifth, but this resilient group of Beavers fought back in its half with the season hanging in the balance.
Freshman Christie Langlois led off the inning with a single. She hit .300 in her first taste of postseason play. After an out, Kutz doubled pinch runner Mollee Schwegler to third. Senior right fielder Maggie Doremus grounded out to short to score Schwegler, and center fielder Lea Cavestany came through with a two-out RBI single to right to plate Kutz.
Still down a run in the sixth, Santana led off with a double to right center and advanced to third on a wild pitch. In her final collegiate game, Santana went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. That run came on a lined single to center by Desiree Beltran to tie the score at 3-3.
Neither team threatened until the top of the ninth. A dying quail to shallow center popped out of Garcia’s glove as she dove and hit the turf to put runners at second and third with two outs. But Marina Demore got a fly out to Doremus in right to squash the threat.
Hofstra finally broke through in the 10th. The Pride hit three home runs in the inning, seemingly realizing that the only way to avoid the always superb Beavers’ defense was to hit it over the wall.
Down 8-3, Doremus led off with a single to push her postseason average to a team-best .500, and she later scored on Santana’s two-out triple into the corner in right. It was her fifth triple of the season, tying her for seventh on the school’s single-season triples list. Her final hit raised her career batting average to .329, ranking fifth in school history. It would also be the Beavers’ final hit of the 2013 season.