May 22, 2002 11:00 pm

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

UNION — The end of a good season for the Union Bobcats came down to one bad inning.

A two-error sixth inning doomed the Bobcats but lifted the Knappa Loggers to a 5-0 victory Wednesday in the first round of the Class 2A/1A state softball playoffs.

"We just didn't do the job. We didn't make the plays we normally make," Union coach Steve Robertson said.

The Bobcats had six errors on defense, and those two in the sixth led to four unearned runs.

Two more errors in the seventh gave Knappa another unearned run.

Meanwhile, Union's offense generated little against Knappa pitcher Nathalie Matson. The senior gave up just four hits and struck out seven batters.

"She's got seven different pitches and she gets three to four of them to work every game," Knappa coach Bob Mills said.

"We haven't faced a pitcher that fast," Robertson said.

Matson and Union's Jennifer Sasser settled into a pitchers' duel for the first five innings. Sasser gave up just three hits for the game, a single by Misty Brown in the fifth, a two-out single by Toni Ramvick in the sixth and another single by Rene'e Evans that scored two runs in the sixth.

Matson gave up just one hit through five innings until pinch hitter April Savely led off the bottom of the sixth with a double. Two outs later, a single by Kallin Prince moved Savely to third, but the next batter, Jana Brotherton, hit a line drive that left fielder Brown leaped for and snagged to end the inning.

The sixth inning started with Sasser striking out the first two batters. After Ramvick's single, Molly Miller hit the ball to shortstop DeeAnna Hall. Hall tried to tag Miller leading off second but the runner got back in time.

Jennifer Fransen's ground ball was booted by third baseman Melissa Helmer, allowing Ramvick to score. Evans followed with a two-run single, then Matson's ground ball was misplayed by Hall, scoring Evans.

In the seventh, Gilly Boardman reached second base on a misplayed ball by Helmer. Jenni Smith bunted, but the throw from Mallory Wike at first base to third was high and wide, scoring Boardman.

Union finished its season 15-4, while Knappa improved to 21-7. For both teams, it was the first time to state for the players. Knappa gets another game Friday at Monroe, which had a first-round bye.

Union's senior-less team has to wait until next year for its next game.

"I am so proud of the girls this year," Robertson said. "The whole experience has been nothing but positive — except for the final score."

Knappa 000 004 1 — 5 3 1

Union 000 000 0 — 0 4 6

Matson and Evans; Sasser and Waite. WP — Matson. LP — Sasser.

Knappa hits — Ramvick, Brown, Evans. RBI — Evans 2. SB — Ramvick, Evans.

Union hits — Helmer, Savely, Prince, Waite. 2B — Savely.