by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College softball team is in the middle of three-team chase for two spots in the MIAA Tournament after splitting a doubleheader at Saint Mary's College on Thursday.
The Flying Dutch won the opener 4-1 behind a complete game from pitcher Chloe Haskins, but were edged, 5-4, in the second game on a run in the top of the seventh-inning.
Hope (21-11 overall) is tied with Saint Mary's and Olivet College for third place in the league standings with two games remaining. Olivet plays at Calvin College on Friday. Hope hosts Kalamazoo College on Saturday at 11 a.m. Saint Mary's plays at Adrian College on Saturday at 1 p.m.
In Game 1, Haskins went the distance and did not allow Saint Mary's (12-21, 8-6 MIAA) to score until the seventh. The freshman from Brighton, Michigan (Brighton HS) allowed six hits but did not walk anyone one. She struck out one.
Hope scored twice in the third and the seventh innings.
In the third, second baseman Arinn King of Hudsonville, Michigan (Hudsonville) scored on a fielder's choice, while third baseman Shay Pinhey of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Pioneer) came home on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Savannah Dixon of Niles, Michigan (Edwardsburg).
Hope added to its lead with a two-run seventh that featured a RBI triple from Jordyn Diaz of Naperville, Michigan (Neuqua Valley) that knocked in centerfielder Jo Cook of Birch Run, Michigan (Birch Run) and a RBI double from Pinhey that scored Diaz.
In Game 2, Saint Mary's broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the sixth. Hope answered in its half of the inning with three runs of its own.
Diaz, who delivered an RBI double in the second, hit a two-run triple in the sixth. She then scored on Pinhey's two-out double.
Saint Mary's Madelynne Keller tripled with one out of Hoskins (8-6), Hope's fourth pitcher, and scored the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice.