Morningside rallied from a three-run deficit in the late innings to advance to the championship game in the GPAC Softball Post-Season Tournament Morningside Bracket. Photo / Kevin Pottebaum
Allie Martinez delivered a walk-off single to drive in Rachel Koch with the winning run to lift Morningside to a 5-4 victory against Hastings and put the Mustangs in Thursday’s championship game of the GPAC Softball Post-Season Tournament Morningside Bracket.
The Mustangs will take a 41-9 record into Thursday’s 2 p.m. title game and will face either Hastings or Concordia, who will meet in Thursday’s loser’s bracket final at noon. The winner of the loser’s bracket final would have to defeat Morningside twice to win the double elminiation tourney.
Morningside, ranked 14th nationally in the latest NAIA poll, had to rally from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Hastings in Wednesday’s winner’s bracket final.
The Mustangs scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the score at 4-4. Elin Landgren got things started with a leadoff infield single. Landgren was sacrificed to second by Koch and scored when Abby Conner lined a RBI single to left field. Hastings pitcher Taylor Erlenbusch hit Martinez with a pitch and then walked pinch-hitter Kristina Neumann to load the bases and set the stage for Morgan Fogelman, who tied the score at 4-4 with a clutch two-out, two-run single.
Erlenbusch hit Koch with a pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to ignite the Mustangs’ winning rally. An error by the second baseman on a ball hit by Conner kept the inning alive and set up Martinez for her game winning hit.
Morningside’s other run came with one out in the fourth inning when Conner deposited an Erlenbusch pitch over the left field fence for her team-high 11th home run of the season.
Rachel Henks, who threw a five-hit shutout in a 4-0 first round victory against Midland earlier in the day, relieved starter Aubrey Voboril to start the seventh inning and retired all three batters she faced to get the win.
Voboril scattered seven hits, walked one, and struck out four over the first six innings.
Erlenbusch, who allowed only one hit over the first five innings, limited the Mustangs to five hits to go along with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Conner had two of the Mustangs’ hits with a home run and single. The Mustangs’ other hits were singles by Landgren, Martinez, and Fogelman.
The Mustangs’ bats came out smoking in their opening round win against Midland when they had four hits en route to a three-run first inning to take an early 3-0 lead. The Mustangs first two batters of the game, Landgren and Koch, each had singles before the big hits came later in the inning when McKenzie Anderson delivered a RBI single and Emilee Dorpinghaus laced a run scoring double.
Morningside stretched its lead to 4-0 when Conner led off the third inning with a home run.
That was all the run support Henks needed as she mowed down the Warriors with a five-hitter for her seventh shutout of the season. Henks walked one and struck out seven. Henks has allowed only one run in 41 innings for a 0.17 earned run average over her last eight outings and has pitched 25.2 consecutive scoreless innings since she took the loss in a 1-0 nine-inning setback against Nebraska Wesleyan on April 16.
Three of Morningside’s six hits against Midland went for extra bases with the home run by Conner and doubles by Dorpinghaus and Moriah Bohlmann. Landgren, Koch, and Anderson all had singles.