Morningside pitchers Rachel Henks and Aubrey Voboril allowed only one hit when the Mustangs swept Doane in the GPAC Softball Tournament Championship Series.
Morningside had too much pitching for Doane when the Mustangs swept the Tigers 2-1 and 8-0 in five innings in Saturday’s GPAC Softball Tournament Championship Series at the Elizabeth and Irving F. Jensen Softball Complex.
Rachel Henks pitched a one-hitter en route to her 21st victory of the season in the opener and Aubrey Voboril twirled a perfect game for her 19th triumph in the second game.
The Mustangs, who climbed to 44-8 on the season, won their seventh GPAC Tournament title in the last nine years. Morningside also won this year’s GPAC’s regular season title, their sixth during the Jessica Jones-Sitzmann coaching era, by a one-game margin over runner-up Doane.
Both teams will advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round to be held March 16-18 at various sites. The Mustangs will play at home as the host of the Morningside Bracket.
The first game of the GPAC Championship Series featured a scoreless pitcher’s duel between Henks and Doane’s Ellie Doughty before the Mustangs finally broke through when Rachel Koch slugged a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Mustangs tacked on one more run in the inning when Abby Conner singled, went to second when Allie Martinez was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch.
Henks lost her shutout and no-hit bids when Doane scored in the top of the seventh. Henks hit Heather Ramirez to start the inning and the Tigers soon had runners at first and third when Sam Valadez hit a bloop single down the right field line. Jordan Van Roy drove in Ramirez with a sacrifice fly to center field, but that was the extent of the Tigers’ scoring as Henks finished with a one-hitter to raise her record to 21-4.
Henks retired the Tigers’ first nine batters of the game before she walked Kelsey Bernhardt to start the fourth inning. Her opponent was equally impressive. Doughty yielded a first inning leadoff single to Elin Landgren and then retired 11 straight batters before she hit Allie Martinez with a pitch with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Emilee Dorpinghaus led off the fifth inning with a line drive single to center field for the Mustangs’ first hit since the opening inning. Dorpinghaus advanced to second base with two outs after a sacrifice by Mara Amsberry, but was left stranded.
Doane had its first scoring opportunity in the top of the sixth inning when Brittney Amezquita reached on an error and was sacrificed to second with two outs before Nicole Fernandez flew out to McKenzie Anderson in center field to end the inning.
Henks finished with one walk and three strikeouts. She has allowed only four runs and 26 hits in 62 innings for a 0.45 earned run average over her last 12 outings.
Doughty allowed two runs, only one earned, on four hits over the first 5.1 innings before she was relieved by Morgan Uldrich. Doughty struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.
The Mustangs led the second game wire-to-wire after they plated a run in the bottom of the first inning when Koch walked, went to second on a single by Conner, and came home when Martinez stroked a single down the left field line.
Morningside stretched its lead to 2-0 when Morgan Fogelman blasted a towering home run over the left field foul pole to lead off the second inning.
The Mustangs broke the game open in the third inning on a grand slam by Fogelman to go up 6-0. Fogelman homered on the first pitch thrown by Carly Shniderson, who took over in relief after the Mustangs had loaded the bases against Uldrich, the Tigers’ starter, after a single by Koch and walks to Anderson and Dorpinghaus.
Morningside went up 7-0 in the fourth inning when Koch walked and scored on a two-out single by Martinez.
The Mustangs ended the game by the eight-run rule in the bottom of the fifth when Mara Amsberry reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a double by Moriah Bohlmann.
Voboril, who also pitched a five-inning perfect game against Dordt earlier this season, struck out three batters and won her 14th consecutive decision to improve her record to 19-2.
Fogelman was the big bat in the Mustangs’ lineup with two home runs and five RBIs. Conner and Martinez each had two hits, Bohlmann had a double, and Koch had a single.
Game One Box
Game Two Box