A 4-2 loss against 13th-ranked Reinhardt took No. 10 Morningside out of the double-elimination NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round.
Tenth-ranked Morningside bowed out of the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round Sioux City Bracket when it went 1-1 in Tuesday’s competition.
The Mustangs stayed alive in the double-elimination tourney with a 4-0 victory against Jamestown before a 4-2 setback against No. 13 Reinhardt gave them their second loss.
Morningside avenged a 4-0 regular season setback against Jamestown with a 9-1 victory against their future Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) rival.
Jamestown ace Hanna Dunnigan pitched a three-hit shutout against Morningside when the teams met during the regular season in a March 19 contest in Leavenworth, Kan. Dunnigan was working on another shutout and took a 1-0 lead into the top of the fifth inning of Tuesday’s rematch before the Mustangs’ offense erupted with a seven-run inning.
Mara Amsberry worked Dunnigan for a leadoff walk to open the inning and then went to second base on a wild pitch. The Jimmies went to Brittany Rheault in relief after Elin Landgren reached base on an error to put runners at the corners with no outs. Tracy Edwards greeted Rheault with a RBI single to tie the score at one. A walk to Abby Conner loaded the bases to set up a bases loaded RBI walk by Rachel Koch that put the Mustangs in front 2-1. Emilee Dorpinghaus was hit by a pitch to force in another run to make it 3-1 and prompt the Jimmies to return Dunnigan to the pitcher’s circle. The big blow of the inning came one out later when Allie Martinez rocketed a grand slam home run over the center field fence to put the Mustangs in front 7-1.
The Mustangs capped their scoring when Amsberry delivered a two-run single in the top of the seventh.
Jamestown scored its run in the bottom of the third inning when Kylie Macaig reached base on an error and came home on a sacrifice fly by Kelly Halverson.
Winning pitcher Rachel Henks allowed one unearned run on four hits to improve her record to 34-9 to break a Morningside record for wins in a season. Henks, who walked three and struck out seven, topped the previous Mustang standard of 33 wins in a season set by Whitney McElrath, who went 33-12 in the 2006 campaign.
Martinez swung the big bat in the Mustangs’ lineup with a home run, double and four RBIs. The Mustangs also had two-hit performances from Edwards, Koch and Amsberry.
Thirteenth ranked Reinhardt defeated No. 10 Morningside 4-2 in a matchup of nationally ranked teams in the elimination bracket final of the Sioux City Bracket.
The loss ended the Mustangs’ season with a record of 40-12, while Reinhardt improved its ledger to 43-15-1 and advanced to Wednesday’s championship game against unranked Ottawa.
Reinhardt, this year’s Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) co-champion, outhit the GPAC champion Mustangs 9-8 and took the lead for good when it opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Sarah Kate Jenkins led off the inning with a walk and eventually scored when the Eagles bunched three consecutive two-out singles by Cassidy Howren, Taylor Weeks and Maddie Evans.
The Eagles capitalized on some shaky bunt defense by Morningside when they stretched their lead to 3-0 with two more runs in the third inning. The Mustangs made three consecutive throwing errors on a bunt single by Taylor Braselton and sacrifice bunts by Jessica Baker and Jenkins. Hannah McKinley, who led off the inning with a double, scored after the Braselton bunt single and Mustang throwing error, while Braselton came home after the Mustangs’ third throwing error of the inning.
Reinhardt threatened to do even more damage with runners at the corners and no outs before Mustang pitcher Rachel Henks worked her way out of the jam with a groundout, strikeout and popout.
Morningside scored runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings to close within 3-2. Mara Amsberry singled and scored on a single by Rachel Koch in the fifth. The Mustangs scored in the sixth when Moriah Bohlmann singled and came home on a groundout by Elin Landgren.
The Eagles plated an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when All-American Taylor Weeks led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Braselton, the AAC Player of the Year.
Weeks went three-for-three with a double, while McKinley had two doubles and Braselton a pair of singles.
Tracey Edwards and Abby Conner each had two hits for Morningside.
Madison Luck allowed two runs and scattered eight hits over the first five innings to notch her 20th win of the season. Luck (20-8) walked one and struck out one. Maci Mills walked one and fanned one over a pair of hitless innings for her first save of the season.
Henks (34-10) allowed nine hits in defeat. She walked two and struck out five.