By Marc Tobias
MENDON -- Parkway was one strike away from picking up its third straight Midwest Athletic Conference softball victory, but a wild pitch by Cassie Steinbrunner allowed New Bremen's Kelli Steineman to score to tie the game at 1-1 and eventually win 2-1 in nine innings.
It was a pair of dropped balls that really hurt the Panthers, as the lead-off runner reached in the seventh inning when first baseman Jana Suman couldn't hold on to a throw from shortstop Erica Yoder. A dropped ball by the Panthers outfield allowed the Cardinals lead-off hitter to reach in the ninth inning as well.
Renee Dahlinghaus pinch ran for Elly Cisco who reached on the second big error, and then Toni Goodwin laced a double deep to centerfield moving Dahlinghaus to third base.
It was just one of five hits Steinbrunner allowed in her nine innings of work.
"Toni has been hitting the ball really well as of late, and she got a pitch she could drive and she got a hold of it and then Erika (Bell) got the execution on the bunt," said New Bremen coach Craig Griesdorn. Bell laid a sacrifice bunt down the third-base line with one out in the inning, and when Parkway took the out at first the Panthers return throw to home was just a half second too late allowing Dahlinghaus to score.
"It was a safety-bunt type situation to make sure they had to throw it," Griesdorn said. "When you have a good pitcher like that you take a run any way you can get it."
Steinbrunner finished with 10 strikeouts and was four outs away from a no-hitter when she allowed a meaningless single in the sixth inning. Both runs she allowed were unearned.
"It shouldn't have gotten to the point where they had the runners in scoring position if we made plays," said Parkway coach Mark Esselstein. "The MAC is still in our own control, we just have to take care of business."
"We made errors at key times and they played great defense and ultimately that ended up being the difference in the game," Esselstein added.
Julie Griesdon picked up the win for New Bremen, going all nine innings and allowing just six hits while walking none and striking out four.
The one run she allowed in the third inning was earned as Jennifer Murphy singled to drive in Steinbrunner who doubled earlier in the inning.
"It was the first game all year where we played solid defense, we didn't make any errors tonight and that was the difference," Craig Griesdorn said. "We knew they were going to hit the ball hard, but we made plays and Julie was around the plate and she didn't walk anybody and she didn't beat herself and we had excellent defense behind her."
Parkway falls to 13-3 (2-1 MAC) with the loss and returns to action at LCC today while New Bremen moves to 8-6 (1-1 MAC) and returns to action Thursday when it hosts Fort Recovery.