May 2, 2008
Extra-Inning Losses End Title Run
SHAWNEE, Kan.-Northwest Missouri State lost two eight-inning games to the top two seeds and finished in third place at the MIAA Softball Tournament Friday.
Top-seeded Emporia State (39-15) fought back from a 4-1 deficit to win 6-4 in the winner's bracket final. Central Missouri (36-19) trailed by a run early, but won 2-1 in the consolation bracket final. The Hornets and Jennies will play for the tournament championship Saturday.
The Bearcats (31-20) scored four runs after sending their first four hitters to the plate Friday, but managed one run the rest of the day.
Erin Leslie led off the bottom of the first inning against Emporia with her fourth home run of the season. It's the first career leadoff home run for Leslie and the first time a Northwest player has performed the feat since Lindsay Stephenson did so against Truman in April of 2007.
Casey Carper singled to second base, Tiffany Carter was hit by a pitch and Cortney Channell blasted her team-leading ninth homer of the season to give the Bearcats a 4-1 lead.
It wouldn't be enough against MIAA Pitcher of the Year Samantha Sheeley. Carper was the only Bearcat to record a hit against Sheeley past the first inning. Carper was 4-for-4 against Sheeley and had half the Bearcats' hits. Sheeley (23-6) struck out 11 and walked two in her complete-game effort.
Shelbe Hughes led off the top of the fourth inning with her fourth home run of the year to close the gap to 4-2. Miranda Campbell doubled in a run in the fifth to make it 4-3 and two batters later, Hughes tied the game with a base hit off the glove of Leslie at second base.
The winning runs came off the bat of Jenna Potter, who smacked a two-run homer to straight-away center field with two outs in the eighth. Potter, who hits ninth in the Hornets' order, was 0-for-2 prior to that at bat and had been pinch hit for when her turn came up in the sixth.
Northwest ran into the other first-team all-conference pitcher in game two. Jennies starter Megan Leonard pitched a complete-game, four-hitter and didn't allow a hit past the third inning. She struck out nine and walked three to earn her 20th win of the season.
The Bearcats took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a base hit by Channell down the leftfield line that scored Tiffany Graham from third. Channell had four hits during the tournament and drove in a team-best four runs.
The Jennies scored an unearned run off Bearcat starter Cola Krueger in the fifth inning before plating the winning run in the eighth. Kherri-Dean Hummer provided the game-winning hit that scored Tracey Anderson from second. Anderson drew a leadoff walk from Krueger and later stole second.
Krueger (13-8) suffered her first loss since April 15 spanning seven starts and 10 appearances. She's now 5-1 since that start with an ERA of 1.95. Krueger allowed one earned run in a span of 38 innings into Friday's play.
Up Next: Northwest will learn its postseason fate this weekend when the NCAA releases its pairing for regional competition. The Bearcats are expected to make the eight-team regional, which will run May 7-11 at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan.
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