Abby Conner slugged a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning to lift the Mustangs to a 3-1 victory against Hastings in the title game of the GPAC Softball Tournament Morningside Bracket. Photo / Gene Knudsen
Abby Conner slugged a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning to provide the winning margin when the 15th-ranked Mustang softball team defeated Hastings 3-1 in Thursday’s title game of the GPAC Softball Tournament Morningside Bracket.
The Mustangs improved their record to 42-8 and will host Doane, which won its own bracket, in Saturday’s GPAC Softball Tournament Championship Series. The best two-of-three series will have games at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. if necessary. Morningside defeated Doane 6-1 on April 21 in Sioux City during the regular season en route to winning the GPAC’s regular season championship. The second game of their schedule doubleheader was rained out.
Conner, who homered in all three of the Mustangs’ Morningside Bracket victories, stepped to the plate in a 1-1 game in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs and Elin Landgren on second base after she had reached on a throwing error by the Broncos’ shortstop. Conner deposited a Katlynn Behnk pitch over the fence in straight away center field for her team-high 12th home run of the season.
Hastings’ best chance to break the 1-1 tie came in the top of the fifth inning when Chloe Boeke lined out to Mustang centerfielder McKenzie Anderson to end the inning after the Broncos had loaded the bases with two outs.
Hastings had scored the first run of the game when Corrin Ziepke belted a solo home run with two outs in the top of the first inning to stake the Broncos to a 1-0 lead and end Mustang pitcher Rachel Henks’ streak of 26.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Mustangs tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth on a clutch two-out RBI single by Morgan Fogelman. Fogelman’s hit drove in Conner, who led off the inning with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Allie Martinez.
Henks finished with a four-hitter to record her 20th win of the season against only four defeats. Henks, who walked two and struck out eight, has allowed only two runs in 48 innings for a 0.29 earned run average over her last nine outings.
Behnk pitched a three-hitter in defeat, yielding only a home run to Conner and singles to Fogelman and Landgren. Behnk walked three and struck out six.