Morningside went 1-1 in Friday’s action in the GPAC Softball Postseason Tournament Morningside Bracket.
Morningside’s softball team will hope to battle its way through the elimination bracket during Saturday’s action in the double elimination Morningside Bracket of the GPAC Postseason Tournament.
The Mustangs, ranked 23rd nationally in the NAIA, defeated Concordia 7-0 in their Friday tournament opener before a 5-0 setback against Northwestern in the winner’s bracket final dropped them into the elimination bracket, where they will need to win three consecutive games on Saturday in order to advance to Monday’s GPAC Softball Tournament Championship Series against the winner of the Midland Bracket.
Morningside will play in Saturday’s loser’s bracket final against Doane, with the winner advancing to the tournament bracket championship game.
In the Mustangs’ Friday opener, Morningside’s Hallie Misaszek and Concordia’s Grace Bernhardt were locked in a scoreless pitchers’ duel through the first three and one-half innings.
Concordia staged the game’s first serious scoring threat when it loaded the base with one out in the top of the second inning. Misiaszek pitched her way out of trouble by retiring Janey Pasold on a fielder’s choice and Hhano Haro, the second leading hitter in the nation with a .500 batting average going into the contest, on a fly out to Carson Cameron in right field.
Bernhardt blanked the Mustangs on one hit, a first inning leadoff single by Tracy Edwards, through the first three innings, but was unable to survive the fourth after she served up a two-out three-run home run to Jayci Hinker. Hinker’s blast came after Bernhardt had put two runners on base when she hit Mackenzie Lose with a pitch and then walked Lexie Stolen. The Mustangs added one more run before the inning ended. Whited followed Hinker’s home run with a double to left field, signaling the end for Bernhardt, and Rebecca Riley greeted Bulldog reliever Baily Clear with a RBI single to make it 4-0.
The Mustangs broke the game open with two more runs in the fifth and another score in the sixth. Lose supplied the big hit in the fifth inning with a RBI single, while Mara Amsberry delivered a RBI double in the sixth to drive in Whited, who had singled and stole second base.
Misiaszek finished with a five-hit shutout for her sixth shutout of the season. Misiaszek (22-5) walked three and struck out two.
Whited paced a seven-hit Morningside offensive attack with a double and single. The Mustangs also had extra base hits from Hinker with a home run and Amsberry with a double, while Lose, Riley and Tracey Edwards all had singles.
Northwestern ambushed the Mustangs with four runs in the top of the first inning to take early control of the winner’s bracket final. The Red Raiders had four hits in the uprising, including three straight hits when singles by Amanda Everhart and Jessica Sandbulte set up a three-run home run by Kayla Tindall. The Red Raiders made it five straight batters to reach base when Emily Bosch walked and scored on a double by Jensen Boger.
The Mustangs had a chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when a walk to Abby Conner and singles by Lose and Stolen loaded the bases with no outs, but failed to score.
Northwestern pitcher Emma Schnell escaped trouble again in the fifth inning when the Mustangs stranded runners at second and third with one out.
Schnell helped her own cause in the top of the sixth when she delivered a two-out RBI single to plate Jensen Boger, who was hit by a pitch, to increase the Red Raiders’ lead to 5-0.
Schnell finished with a seven-hit shutout to improve her record to 16-3. Schnell walked two and struck out five.
Misiaszek suffered the loss after she surrendered four runs on five hits over the first four innings. She walked one and struck out four. Mustang reliever Andrea Medinger allowed one run on three hits with one walk and one strikeout over the final three innings.
Edwards had a double and two singles to pace the Mustangs’ offensive attack. Stolen added a pair of singles, while Lose and Carson Cameron each had singles.