At first, it seemed the Eastern Kentucky University softball team might pull it together for the final weekend of the regular season.

The Colonels led UT Martin, 2-1 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Gertrude Hood Field. However, the Skyhawks scored 11 unanswered runs, including five in a second-game shutout to effectively end any chance the Colonels had of making the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.

“Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom, which is where I feel like we are because this is the lowest we’ve been, in order to turn things around,” EKU coach Jane Worthington said of her team’s 7-2 and 5-0 losses on Saturday. “You hate having to learn from your own experiences. You wish you could learn from other people, but it seems that’s always the case. Throughout the entire year, they thought, ‘We’ll make the tournament, we always do.’ Well, we’re not going to make the tournament.”

EKU (16-27, 7-13 OVC) had two hits in the first inning of game one and Shyenne Hussey’s RBI single scored Dianne Gallagher.

After UT Martin’s Jenny Bain hit a solo homer in the third inning, the Colonels battled back, taking a slim lead. EKU got hits from Jena Handley, Ashley Dollins and Pam Webber. Dollins’ hit was a RBI double that scored Handley.

Then, for the rest of the day, it was all the Skyhawks. Martin scored twice in the fourth inning and four times in the seventh inning, including a three-run homer by Laura Roberts to give Martin a 7-2 win in game one.

“I don’t think I’m getting effort on 100 percent basis, which makes it more difficult,” Worthington said. “I think they’re feeling the season and it’s unfortunate, because that’s one thing there’s no excuse for is lack of effort. I think we have very good effort sometimes, and then we have lapses. We not only have lapses in effort, but in knowing what we’re supposed to do in certain situations.”

In game two, EKU only had three hits and allowed nine hits. Kalyn Fox, Erin Luther and Samm Daniels all had a hit in the loss.

“Maybe it’s a reality check in the sense that we’ll never take (making the tournament) for granted again,” Worthington said. “I can pretty much assure you this will not happen in the future. It won’t happen next year, there’s just no way. It doesn’t feel good. It’s not fun for the players. It’s not a good experience for me.”

Chelsea Butler went 6 1/3 innings in the first game, giving up all seven runs with three strikeouts. Stacye Toups finished the game and then started game two, going four innings. Fox closed the game and had a strikeout.

“Chelsea’s been pitching hurt all year,” Worthington said. “It’s one of those things where you pick your poison. I left her in one pitch too long and they had a home run. That killed it. She’s out there pitching hurt and with guts and I can’t ask any more of her.”

This year has been an injury-filled one for EKU. Fox, who was the primary first baseman for the Colonels, has been playing second base in place of the injured Amber Lenz. They added another one Saturday when Cassi Gibson ran into the right-field wall while catching a long fly ball. Gibson had to be removed from the game for the final two innings of the second game.

“It’s fitting that Cassi goes out in this game, because that’s just one more,” Worthington said. “Having so many injuries that we’ve had and the way we’ve been playing, it’s been impossible.”

EKU needed both Tennessee State and Eastern Illinois to lose Saturday’s matchups in order to stay in post-season contention. While the Tigers fell in both their games, EIU split and remained two games in front of EKU for the sixth and final spot in the OVC Tournament with a game to go. It will be the first time in the history of the OVC Tournament the Colonels will not qualify for the postseason. The Colonels will have the final game of their season today, with a 1 p.m. game against UT Martin at Gertrude Hood Field. They will honor seniors Fox, Butler, Webber and Jodi Pence prior to the game.

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