Morningside defeated Concordia 8-7 in the championship game to win its fifth straight GPAC Softball Championship tournament crown.

Morgan Fogelman

Morningside won the GPAC Softball Championship tournament for the fifth year in a row with an 8-7 victory against Concordia on Saturday in Hastings, Neb.

The triumph came in the second championship game of the double-elimination tourney after Concordia upset the GPAC regular season champion Mustangs 3-0 earlier in the afternoon to force a second title game.

The Mustangs will take a 30-12 record to the NAIA Softball National Championship tournament. Morningside qualified for the national tourney for the sixth year in a row.

Taylor Daas

The Bulldogs scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 7-4 lead in the second title game before the Mustangs rallied with three runs in the bottom of the frame to take an 8-7 lead into the seventh. Morningside tied the score on a two-run home run by Morgan Fogelman and scored the eventual game winning run one batter later when Taylor Daas connected for a solo home run. Elin Landgren was on base for Fogelman’s blast after she was hit by a pitch.

Faith Schmidt took over in relief to pitch the seventh inning and survived a two-out walk and a two-out error to notch her first career Morningside save.

Jordan Johnson pitched the sixth inning to get the win, while starter Kayla Salonen had a no-decision after she worked the first five innings.

Kati Steffen

Daas (home run and single) and McKenzie Anderson (double and single) each had two hits to pace a nine-hit Morningside attack. The Mustangs also had home runs from Fogelman and Kati Steffen, and Salonen also had an extra base hit with a double. The home run by Steffen was her 12th of the season and the 38th of her career to make her the Mustangs’ all-time career home run leader, breaking the former record of 37 home runs she shared with Mindi Prince and Kirsten Dargy.

The Mustangs were shut out 4-0 in the opener when the Bulldogs’ Amanda Beeson fired a four-hit shutout with four walks and nine strikeouts.

The Mustangs didn’t get their first hits until Salonen and Anderson had back-to-back singles with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Johnson was equally impressive in the early going as she blanked the Bulldogs on two hits over the first four frames.

Concordia finally broke through in the top of the fifth inning when Palmer Bosanko singled and scored on a two-out double by Brittany Hudler.

Morningside threated in the bottom half of the fifth, but stranded runners at the corners after singles by Daas and Johnson.

A two-out double by Rebecca Walker followed by a single by Amber Topil led to another run when Concordia stretched its lead to 2-0 in the top of the sixth and the Bulldogs added another insurance run in the top of the seventh.

Johnson scattered seven hits in defeat. She walked two and struck out three.