The host Mustangs rallied for a 9-6 win against Grand View to advance to the winner’s bracket final in the Morningside Bracket of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round. Photo / Gene Knudsen
Morningside moved one victory closer to a berth in the upcoming NAIA Softball World Series when it staged a dramatic last inning rally to defeat Grand View 9-6 in Monday’s first round action in the Morningside Bracket of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round.
The Mustangs, ranked 15th in the nation and the No. 2 seed in the Morningside Bracket, advanced into Tuesday’s winner’s bracket final against unranked University of Great Falls, which upset top seed Campbellsville 4-1 in Monday’s other first round contest.
Great Falls shocked a red hot Campbellsville team this is ranked fourth in the nation and rolled into Sioux City with 33 wins in its last 34 games.
Tuesday’s winner’s bracket final is scheduled for 11 a.m. The winner will advance into Wednesday’s championship game in the double elimination tournament. Grand View and Campbellsville will try to stay alive when they meet in a 1:30 p.m. Tuesday elimination game.
The winner of the Morningside Bracket will return to the Jensen Softball Complex to compete in the 2016 NAIA Softball World Series to be held May 27 to June 2.
Morningside (45-8) staged a dramatic last inning rally to snap a seven-game winning streak by Grand View and move within one victory of matching its school record of 46 wins in a 46-11 2011 campaign.
The Mustangs’ seventh inning fireworks came after Grand View had staged a big sixth inning rally of its own when it scored six runs in the bottom of the frame to erase a 4-0 Morningside advantage. Abbey Wilmes, a returning second-team All-American, provided the big blow when she blasted a grand slam home run, her team-high 12th round tripper of the season, to put the Vikings in front at 5-4. The Vikings went to the long ball again one out later when pinch-hitter Kate Crow went deep for her seventh home run of the season to put Grand View up 6-4.
Morningside’s winning rally began with one out in the top of the seventh when Grand View ace Claudia Farrell, a second-team All-American last year as a freshman, hit the Mustangs’ Elin Landgren with a pitch.
Landgren advanced to second on a single by Rachel Koch and then scored on the combination of an infield single by Abby Conner and a Grand View throwing error. The Mustangs tied the score at 6-6 on a RBI single by McKenzie Anderson and then took a 7-6 lead on a RBI single by Emilee Dorpinghaus, who went three-for-four and drove in four of the Mustangs’ nine runs in the victory. Mara Amsberry padded the Mustangs’ lead to 9-6 when she delivered a two-out, two-run single.
Mustang starter Aubrey Voboril, who blanked the Vikings on one hit over the first five innings before she was relieved with two runners on base and no outs in the bottom of the sixth, re-entered the game in the bottom of the seventh and retired Grand View in order to earn a save.
Voboril allowed two runs on one hit with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings of work.
Farrell finished with 10 strikeouts, but the Mustangs were able to solve her for 11 hits and force her into throwing 154 pitches, including 46 in a two-run first inning.
The Mustangs capitalized on a dropped fly ball in the outfield to plate a pair of unearned runs in the first inning on a double off the center field fence by Dorpinghaus.
Morningside made it 3-0 in the top of the fourth on a solo home run by Dorpinghaus and then padded its lead to 4-0 in the top of the fifth when Koch doubled and came home on a single by Conner.
Dorpinghaus had three hits for the Mustangs with a home run, double, and single. The Mustangs also received multiple hit performances from Koch with a double and single and Conner with a pair of singles.