Morningside defeated Doane 6-1 for the 600th career coaching victory for softball coach Jessica Jones-Sitzmann. Photo / Gene Knudsen
Morningside head softball coach Jessica Jones-Sitzmann achieved the 600-career victory milestone when the 14th-ranked Mustangs defeated Doane College 6-1 in the first game of Thursday’s scheduled Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) doubleheader in Sioux City.
The second game was called due to rain with Morningside holding a 1-0 lead with one out in the top of the second inning.
Jones-Sitzmann, in her 18th season at Morningside, has a 600-334 career record for a .642 winning percentage. Jones-Sitzmann, a four-time GPAC Coach of the Year, has led the Mustangs to six NAIA National Tournament appearances, five regular season GPAC championships, and six GPAC post-season tournament championships.
Thursday’s victory put the Mustangs’ record at 34-7, including a 13-2 mark in the GPAC for a two-game advantage over Doane (13-4) for first place in the league standings. Morningside has won 21 of its last 23 games and is already assured of a national tournament berth as a host site in the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round on May 16-18.
Morningside’s Aubrey Voboril and Doane’s Ellie Doughty were locked in a scoreless pitcher’s duel until the Mustangs broke through with three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Doughty, who took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, allowed the Mustangs’ leadoff hitter to reach base when she fielded a bunt off the bat of Emilee Dorpinghaus and threw wildly to send the speedy Dorpinghaus to second base on the error. The Mustangs then loaded the bases with no outs when Anna Milone reached on a fielder’s choice and Morgan Fogelman reached on an error by the shortstop.
Dorpinghaus stole home for the first run of the inning when she avoided a tag by the Tigers’ catcher after she was caught in a rundown. Doughty retired the Mustangs’ next two batters before she lost her no-hit bid when Rachel Koch lined a single to right field to drive in Milone and Fogelman.
Doane used a Nicole Fernandez double and a RBI single by Heather Ramirez in the top of the sixth to break Voboril’s shutout bid and close within 3-1.
The Mustangs broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning when McKenzie Anderson and Dorpinghaus both singled to set up a three-run home run by Fogelman to give the Mustangs a 6-1 lead.
Voboril allowed seven hits, struck out five, and didn’t walk a batter to improve her record to 16-2.
Doughty pitched a five-hitter with nine strikeouts in defeat to drop to 12-5.
The Mustangs will host College of Saint Mary in a GPAC doubleheader on Saturday at noon.