SALEM, Va. -- Just like in its first game at the NCAA Division II Softball World Series, hitting the ball was not a problem for LIU Post.
Hitting the ball when the Pioneers had runners on base, however, was a problem, and that led to a 6-2 loss to West Chester (Pa.) on Saturday which eliminated LIU Post from the tournament at the Moyer Sports Complex.
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LIU Post (50-11) outhit its opponent 10-7, but West Chester capitalized on opportunities in the second and third innings to build a 6-0 lead. The Pioneers stranded 12 runners, including leaving the bases loaded twice.
"We left too many runs on base," Post coach Jamie Apicella said. "We were hitting the ball all tournament, but you can't leave 12 players on base . . . And again, we had some defensive miscues that they capitalized on."
West Chester (42-22), which was eliminated later in the day by Dixie State University (St. George, Utah), scored twice in the second inning -- one of those came as a result of an LIU Post error. The Pioneers then committed two more errors in the third inning, when the Golden Rams scored their other four runs.
In between those two big innings for West Chester, the Pioneers had the bases loaded with no outs, but did not score after Maria Palmeri hit into a double play and Samantha Miller followed with a fielder's choice.
"We were getting runners on, we just couldn't get that big hit," said shortstop Nicole Hagenah. "When I hit the ball, I was hitting it hard, it was just right to the other team. A couple of the other girls had the same problem."
The Pioneers' last best chance came in the sixth inning, when they loaded the bases with one out. Post scored once, but then a comebacker to West Chester pitcher Kim Murl by Alexis Gonzalez led to a force out at home. Then Hagenah flied out to center field.
"This was a good opportunity for the people in my grade and the ones below us as an experience," said junior catcher Aly Dzierzynski, who had two hits and one of Post's RBIs.
"We have a very strong team, and [Apicella] always recruits girls who are strong. We always have a team who can get here."