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The Monmouth College softball team played in their first Midwest Conference Tournament in six years on Saturday The Scots led top-seeded Lake Forest until the fifth inning before falling 5-2 and a 10-4 afternoon loss to Grinnell eliminated the Fighting Scots.
The first game was scoreless after two innings. Monmouth pitcher Abby Leber (Tremont, Illinois) helped her own cause with a leadoff double. With one out, Makaylea Sepich (Mackinaw, Illinois) singled to center and Leber scored on a throwing error by the Lake Forest centerfielder.
Leber kept the Foresters off the board in the bottom of the inning and the Scots added to their lead. MyKenzie Kloess (Dupo, Illinois) singled with one out and moved to second on an error. She scored on another error as Allie Ramlo (Tremont, Illinois) put the ball in play to give the Scots a 2-0 lead.
Lake Forest got even in the fifth. A single and a triple put them on the board. A bunt back to the mound with a throwing error home tied the game 2-2. The Foresters scored three runs in the sixth inning to take a 5-2 lead.
The Scots were unable to get on the board in the top of the seventh and dropped the opener 5-2. Leber took the loss, allowing four earned runs on eight hits over six innings while striking out six.
The Scots then took on Grinnell in an elimination game. The Pioneers took a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the first inning. Monmouth responded in the second as Ramlo doubled and scored on a single by Kendall Lewis (Cambridge, Illinois). Lewis eventually scored on a wild pitch as the Scots took a 2-1 lead.
Madelyn Belville (Rushville, Illinois) led off the third with a double and moved to third on a sac bunt. With two down, Jenna Pauley (Moline, Illinois) singled home Belville for a 3-1 Monmouth lead.
Grinnell got a run back in the third inning after a two-out error. A walk loaded the bases and another error tied the game 3-3. Monmouth regained the lead in the fourth as Lewis and Sepich both singled before Lewis was retired on a fielder’s choice. Sepich came home from third on an error to give the Scots a 4-3 lead.
Grinnell hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to take a 5-4 lead. Anna McCarty (Buffalo, Illinois) replaced Pauley in the circle after the home run and two Pioneers hits extended the inning. McCarty stranded the bases loaded to keep the Scots down 5-4 after four. The Pioneers scored five times in the next two innings and held on to beat the Scots 10-4.
Monmouth went 10-5-1 in conference play in the regular season, finishing in fourth place. They last made the MWC Tournament in 2016 and are the only MWC team to defeat Lake Forest so far this season. The Scots ended the season at 13-23-1 overall.
***Report Courtesy of Nathan Baliva, Monmouth College***