Buffalo, NY – With talent, heart, grace and teamwork, the D'Youville Softball Team reached the conference championship game on Sunday afternoon against Penn State-Behrend. Despite their regular season title, the Spartan's postseason championship aspirations were downed by the Lions in thirteen innings as D'Youville was defeated by the final score of 3-2.
Penn State-Behrend would be the first team to put a run on the board in the winner take-all championship game. Their run in the bottom of the first inning held the lead until the top of the fifth where the Spartans would score a run of their own.
Leading off the inning with a single was left fielder Lydia Monin (Buffalo, NY/Tapestry Charter School). Following a sac-bunt from Amanda Drake (West Winfield, NY/Mount Markham), Lauren DeVantier (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield) advanced Monin to third with a fly ball. During the next at-bat, a wild pitch from the Behrend pitcher would score Monin to tie the game at 1.
Neither team would score a run for the next seven innings, but that would change in the thirteenth inning. Hannah Turek (Depew, NY/Lancaster) reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second during the next at-bat on a sacrifice bunt from Alison Hall (Cheektowaga, NY/Depew). Stepping into the box, MacKenzie Kehlenbeck (Oakfield, NY/Oakfield-Alabama) ended the scoring drought and put the Spartans ahead with a single, scoring Turek for the 2-1 lead.
D'Youville entered the bottom of the inning with the lead, but Penn State-Behrend had enough fight left in them to make a difference. With runners on first and second, the Lion battered singed to score the game-tying run. A walk during the next at-bat would load the bases, and then a single would give Behrend the walk-off win and the AMCC Championship by the final score of 3-2.
Kalie McHenry (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home) pitched her heart out, leaving everything she had on the mound. After pitching a 7 inning complete game in game one, McHenry came back to pitch 12.1 innings in game two, striking out 8. The 5x AMCC Pitcher of the Week fought her way out of several bad situations and battled all game.
MacKenzie Kehlenbeck picked up her second RBI of the day in game two to lead the team. Sarah Marino (Buffalo, NY/Holy Angels Academy) and senior Jessica Banning (Amherst, NY/Amherst) led the team with 2 hits each. Catcher Ashely Colan (Grand Island, NY/Grand Island) was solid behind the plate as always, calling a great game.
In every phase of the game, the Spartans battled back. Down in the count, huge defensive plays, timely hitting and picking each other up when they were down. The 2015 D'Youville Softball Team defined what it means to be a Spartan, and a team.
Kehlenbeck, McHenry and Turek were named to the AMCC All-Tournament Team. All-Conference selections will be named later this week.