Morningside swept GPAC regular season champion Doane to advance to the GPAC Softball Tournament Championship Series.
Morningside won the Doane bracket of the GPAC Softball Tournament when it swept the Tigers 4-0 and 7-1 in Thursday’s championship games in Crete, Neb.
The Mustangs, 27-9, will host Concordia, which won the Midland bracket, in Saturday’s GPAC Tournament Championship Series. The winner will advance to the NAIA National Championship Tournament Opening Round. The Mustangs have won five consecutive GPAC Tournament championships and have made six consecutive NAIA National Tournament appearances.
Morningside used a big first inning and the three-hit pitching of Faith Schmidt to defeat Doane 4-0 and force a second championship game in the Doane bracket.
Schmidt, who threw a no-hitter in a 1-0 loss against Northwestern in Wednesday’s opening round, blanked the Tigers on three hits. She walked two and struck out three.
Morningside scored all the runs it needed when it scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Taylor Daas started the action with a one-out single. Neumann followed with a single that advanced Daas to second and set up a RBI single by McKenzie Anderson. Morningside made it four hits in a row when Rachel Koch slugged a double that drove in Neumann and Anderson.
The Mustangs stretched their lead to 4-0 when Mara Amsberry led off the second inning with a home run.
Anderson had two of the Mustangs’ seven hits with a double and single. The Mustangs’ other extra base hits were a home run by Amsberry and a double by Koch.
Doane wasted a brilliant pitching performance by ace Ellie Doughty after the Tigers brought their 20-game winner into the game in the second inning after they were already down 4-0. Doughty blanked the Mustangs on one hit and struck out 10 batters over the final six innings.
The Mustangs tagged Doughty for 11 hits in the second championship game and took an immediate 1-0 lead when Landgren led off the game with a home run.
Morningside made it 2-0 on a RBI single by Koch in the third inning and then broke the game open with four more runs in the fifth to increase their lead to 6-0. Morgan Fogelman had the big hit with a three-run home run, while Koch had a RBI single earlier in the inning.
The Mustangs capped their scoring with a seventh inning RBI single by Anna Milone.
Down 7-0, the Tigers finally broke through against Schmidt in the bottom of the seventh on a RBI single by Brittney Amezquita for their only run in 14 innings against the Mustangs’ ace.
Schmidt pitched a five-hitter with one walk and three strikeouts in the second game to improve her record to 16-9.
Koch went three-for-four to pace the Mustangs’ 11-hit attack. Jacey Tomhave also had a multiple hit performance with a pair of singles. The Mustangs’ extra base hits included home runs by Landgren and Fogelman and a double by Daas.
Morningside began Thursday’s play with a 7-2 victory against Northwestern in the loser’s bracket final.
The Mustangs, who dropped a 1-0 verdict against Northwestern in Wednesday’s tournament opener, led wire-to-wire in Thursday’s rematch after they scored three runs in the top of the first inning when Elin Landgren led off the game with a home run and Koch connected for a two-run shot later in the inning. Koch’s home run, a two-out blast, came with Neumann on base after a walk.
Koch delivered a RBI double that brought home Anderson after a walk in the fifth inning to put the Mustangs up 4-1.
Morningside broke the game open with three runs in the sixth to go up 7-1. The big hits were a two-run double by Neumann and a RBI double by Anderson, both with two outs.
The Mustangs, who were held to just three hits in their opening round loss against Northwestern, punished Red Raider pitchers Kayla Tindall and Dana Hedlund with an 11-hit offensive attack. Koch led the way with a three-for-four performance that included a home run, double, and three RBIs, while Landgren went three-for-four with a home run, double, and one RBI. The Mustangs also had extra base hits from Neumann and Anderson with doubles.
Mustang pitcher Carlie Maasz held the Red Raiders to two runs, one earned, on six hits in a complete game effort to get the win. Maasz walked one and struck out six.
Doane Game One Box
Doane Game Two Box