The Gannon University softball team battled all the way back to the championship game of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament, but came up short in a 6-4 loss to Lock Haven Saturday in Quakertown, Pa.
The Knights, who won the PSAC Tournament title in 2018, now await word on whether they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The tournament field will be announced at 10 a.m. Monday.
Gannon opened PSAC Tournament play Wednesday with an 11-1 win over Mansfield, and then lost 4-2 Thursday to eventual champion Lock Haven.
The Knights bounced back later in the day to edge Seton Hill, 5-4, and then swept two more games Friday, edging West Chester, 8-7, and eliminating Kutztown, 3-1, to earn a berth in the championship against Lock Haven.
Gannon beat the Bald Eagles, 7-5, in Saturday’s first championship game. But since Lock Haven had not lost going into Saturday’s action, the Eagles had one more chance to wrap up the title, and they beat the Knights 6-4.
Lock Haven took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of Saturday’s second game on a bases-loaded walk, but Taylor Wilp tied the score for Gannon when she hit a solo home run to right center in the second inning.
After a Lock Haven RBI, Kaity Stocker hit a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning, to tie up the game once more. After that shot, however, Lock Haven was dominant, scoring four straight runs in the bottom of the inning to build a 6-2 lead.
The Knights wouldn’t go down easy, though, as they rallied for two runs in the fifth on Sarah Ingerick’s two-run homer.
Gannon also mounted a threat in the top of the seventh when Stocker walked with two outs and advanced to third on Megan Dietrick’s double. But Kristina DeMatteis struck out to end the threat and the game.
Wilp led the eight-hit attack by going 3 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Dietrick added two hits.
In Saturday’s first game, Lock Haven got on the board early, with a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Kellyn Perich put Gannon up 2-1 in the third on a triple to left field that scored Wilp and Lisa Szajn. The next at-bat, Maria Taliani sent Perich home with a hit to left center.
In the fourth, Kristina DeMatteis hit a solo shot to left, and Stocker did the same in the sixth inning, to advance Gannon’s lead to 5-1. Perich then hit an RBI double to center, scoring Nicole Bush. Taliani capped Gannon’s scoring with an RBI single later in the inning.
Lock Haven did not go down without a fight, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth. It was not enough, as Rebecca Tatone came on in relief in the final inning to earn her second save in 24 hours.
While the team could not win back-to-back championships, the Knights did have another outstanding season, with an overall record of 30-14 and a 14-6 mark in PSAC play.
Ingerick led the team in batting average (.383), slugging percentage (.656) and runs scored (31). Stocker led Gannon in home runs (11), RBIs (31) and on base percentage (.441).
As a team, the Knights clubbed 50 home runs, two better than last year’s single-season school record of 48.
On the mound, Madi Beining compiled a 2.30 ERA, with 17 wins and 100 strikeouts.