The Carlow University softball team finished third in the USCAA at the 2017 National Championship Tournament.
It was the third straight time Carlow finished in the top three of the tournament. The Celtics finished as the runners-up to St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in 2016 and finished third in 2015.
The No. 3-seeded Celtics defeated No. 5 Penn State Brandywine, 4-2, on Wednesday afternoon, at Firestone Stadium, in Akron, Ohio, to advance to the third-place game against No. 2 Cleary that evening.
The Cougars defeated Carlow, 7-0, to advance to the championship Thursday, where they will face No. 1 St. Mary-of-the-Woods.
The loss ended the careers of nine Carlow seniors — Natalie Bashada (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Sydney Greece (Vandergrift, Pa.), Allison Hryadil (Kennedy Township, Pa.), Hayley Klein (Carnegie, Pa.), Molly Patsch (Rochester, Pa.), Marla Small (West Mifflin, Pa.), Haley Stedeford (Glenshaw, Pa.), Breezy Weaver (York, Pa.) and Kenzie Young (Leechburg, Pa.).
The third-place game was a rematch of the second game of the tournament, when Cleary defeated the Celtics, 2-0. Riley Thompson pitched both games for the Cougars, throwing two two-hitters.
Kelsey Geyer (JR/East Pittsburgh, Pa.) singled in the first inning and Abby Tatgenhorst (FR/Byesville, Ohio) hit a double in the sixth inning for Carlow.
The Cougars scored one run on three hits in the first inning, and the game remained a 1-0 battle till Cleary broke it open in the fifth inning. The Cougars scored four runs on four hits, and then added two more runs on four hits in the sixth inning.
Celtics right-hander Madison Miller (SO/North Huntingdon, Pa.) took the loss in the circle. She pitched 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk, with two strikeouts. Nicole Hall (JR/Jeannette, Pa.) came on in relief and pitched 1.2 innings. She allowed three runs on six hits, with a strikeout. Greece threw the final inning, and allowed one hit and struck out one.
Against Penn State Brandywine, Caitlyn Suter (FR/Monaca, Pa.) earned the complete-game win. She allowed one earned run, on seven hits and three walks, with four strikeouts.
Brandywine took the lead, 1-0, in the bottom of the second inning. The Celtics earned nine hits in the contest, but didn’t string them together until the top of sixth, when they exploded for all four of their runs.
Geyer led off the frame with a bunt single and scored on a pair of Brandywine errors. Sofia Papageorge (SO/Beaver Falls, Pa.) hit a two-RBI single to right center, scoring Young and Hryadil. After a single by Bashada and a walk by Stedeford, Small drew a walk to score Patsch, who was pinch running for Papageorge.
The Lions added one run on a pair of hits in the sixth inning, but could not complete the comeback.
Papageorge finished the game 2-for-3 at the plate, with two RBIs. Bashada and Danielle Levato (SO/Beaver Falls, Pa.) each finished 2-for-4.