By Eva Dean Folkert
The Hope College softball team's run in the 2017 MIAA Softball Tournament came to a cold and disappointing conclusion when the Flying Dutch lost twice on the event's opening day at Wolters Stadium.
Hope fell 5-3 in its opener to Trine University on Thursday and will not advance any farther in the double-elimination tournament after dropping a chilly nightcap, 7-1, to Saint Mary's College.
The Flying Dutch will wait to see if they receive an at-large bid. On Monday, May 8, the NCAA will announce the championship field at 1:00 pm.
The MIAA tournament winner will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III softball tournament.
Hope finished its regular season with a 26-12 record and is currently ranked second in the Central Region for Division III softball.
Two big innings by the Belles took a toll on Hope. Saint Mary's scored three runs in the third inning off a bases-loaded triple by Makenzie Duncan. Four more runs by Saint Mary's in the fifth came via five hits and one error.
Hope scored its lone run in the first inning when sophomore shortstop Shay Pinhey of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Pioneer HS) doubled and later scored on a single by junior second baseman Sierra Mutschler of Wayland, Michigan (Wayland).
Junior Katie Singer of Howell, Michigan (Hartland HS) pitched four innings for the Flying Dutch and took the loss. She allowed three runs on five hits while walking one.
Freshman Tena Baar of Byron Center, Michigan (Byron Center) came in relief and gave up seven hits and four runs while walking three.
At the plate, Hope was led by Pinhey who went 2-for-3, the only Hope player with more than one hit. The Flying Dutch spread out eight hits for the game, just as they did in their first MIAA tournament game against Trine.
Morgan Raymer of Saint Mary's was the winning pitcher.
"It was a bad day to have a bad day," said Hope head coach Mary VandeHoef. "I certainly can't explain it. I just hope our body of work (to get into the NCAA tournament) can overcome our showing today."