The Case Western Reserve University softball team saw its 2018 season come to an end Saturday evening as it dropped an elimination game to No. 16 Luther College at the NCAA Division III Softball Championships in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
CWRU finished out the campaign with an overall record of 38-12 after coming out on the short end of a 7-6 verdict to the Norse who raised their slate to 42-10.
The Spartans got on the board first when senior Maren Waldner drilled a RBI double to right field that scored senior Katie Wede and junior Nicole Doyle, giving CWRU the 2-0 lead after one inning of play.
Luther responded the next half inning when Abby Gehringer doubled to left field, scoring Kaeli Kovark and cutting the Spartan lead to 2-1. The Norse then added to their lead in the top of the third, scoring five runs in the half inning to take a 6-2 lead. Luther scored another run in the top of the fourth after a RBI double from Addy Pender, increasing their lead to 7-2.
The Spartans cut the deficit to 7-3 in the bottom of the fourth when freshman Dusstyn Reynolds sent a RBI blooper to shallow right field, scoring Waldner from third. Senior Grace Tritchler then stepped up and delivered a two-out, two-run homer to left center field that put the score at 7-5 after four innings of play.
CWRU attempted a late comeback in the seventh when Doyle lined a RBI double to left center field that scored Wede, but the Spartans were unable to plate the equalizer as Luther secured the 7-6 victory.
Sophomore Ilissa Hamilton took the loss, going a little over two innings and giving up six runs, six hits and striking out one batter. Hamilton ended the season with a record of 21-8, with her victory total a school season record, as were her 184 strikeouts. Samantha Bratland picked up the win for Luther, as she improved to 27-6 on the season.
Saturday's season finale capped the careers for senior Katie Dzierwa, Tritchler, Waldner and Wede. They combined to go 111-59 overall over their four years as Spartans. Case Western Reserve concludes the 2018 campaign with the most wins in program history (38) and most postseason wins in program history (7).