A multi-homer game from second baseman Sierra Mutschler wasn't enough for the Hope College softball team as the Flying Dutch lost to Trine 6-3 in the NCAA Division III regional championship Saturday in Whitewater, Wisconsin.
Hope, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic co-champions, finish the season with a 27-15 overall record. This was the Flying Dutch's second regional runner-up effort in three seasons.
Trine (35-8) advances to Super Regional play next week at a site to be determined.
Playing Trine for the fourth time this season, Hope jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning when Mutschler blasted a homer to right center to score leadoff hitter Sammi Adams of Griffith, Indiana (Griffith HS).
Adams led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore shortstop Shay Pinhey of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Pioneer).
Trine seized control of the game with a five-run second inning.
The Thunder's rally featured only two hits, but also three walks and two Hope fielding errors.
Mutschler, a junior from Wayland, Michigan (Wayland), homered again to lead off the fourth inning, but Trine answered with an insurance run in its half of the inning.
Mutschler ended the season with seven home runs — tied for seventh all-time with Kelly Kraft (2004).
Mutschler now has 19 home runs in her career — equaling current assistant coach Kelli Duimstra's third-place total from 2006-09.
Junior pitcher Sydney Jones of South Lyon, Michigan (East) pitched her third complete game of the tournament for Hope.
Jones (17-7) allowed six runs and seven hits — four earned — over six innings. She struck out seven and walked five.
Jones finished with 229 strikeouts this season — a school record. Her 17 wins is a school record as well.
Jones, Adams, Mutschler, and Reitsma all were named to the all-regional team.
"It's always hard when it comes to an end,' head coach Mary VandeHoef said. "We had every belief we could do it. They're a good team. We battled. We played hard. We had one tough inning.
"I'm so proud of this team. This is a team that's had some very memorable days, games and stretches. This is a special group."