FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University softball clinched at least a share of the Great Plains Athletic Conference regular season title with a split yesterday with Doane University. The Warriors took game one 2-1 before dropping the final game 6-4. Between the games the 2018 senior class was honored alongside their family and friends.
Midland finishes the regular season with a 29-12 record overall and a 16-4 mark in the GPAC. Both Northwestern and Morningside, who both have games left to play this week, have an opportunity to tie the Warriors atop the standings.
In the first game of the doubleheader Jaylee Hinrichs pitched a two-hitter allowing just one run while striking out 12 batters. She had a no-hitter through 5.2 innings before blooper into left field by the Tigers.
All the scoring for the Warriors came in the first inning as Katlin Anders rocketed a ball over the right field fence with Sierra Athow on base. Midland was able to get on base a few times after that inning but never could string together multiple hits to extend their lead.
In the seventh, with the score 2-1, Doane nearly came back to tie the game. After a one-out walk and strikeout by Hinrichs, the Tigers hit a double deep to left field. The runner tried to score all the way from first but was gunned down as Andrea Cespedes hit Athow who threw a strike to Anders who applied the tag for the final out and the win.
During the break in games Kelsey Koozer, Nicole O’Haver and Bailey Hartman were honored in front of the largest home crowd of the season. The fans also witnessed Bailey Hartman’s boyfriend proposing to her just after being recognized for senior day.
“We enjoyed the opportunity to honor our seniors tonight,” head coach Mike Heard commented. “We appreciate everything they have done for the program.”
Game two saw the Tigers’ offense start the game hitting on all cylinders. They roughed up game two starter Madison Plummer for four runs before getting subbed out for game one starter Hinrichs.
Midland would chip away at the lead with a run in the 2nd before Doane extended it their lead with a run in the 3rd and 4th.
The Warriors would get one back in the bottom of the 4th and then two runs in the 5th to narrow the gap to just a pair of runs. That would be it though as Doane closed out the game recording the final six outs in a row for the 6-4 win.
O’Haver, Bobbi Singleton and Angela Brazil each had an assist in the game while Hinrichs struck out 11 batters in relief.
“I’m proud of the hard work and commitment this team has shown over the last year to make the progress we’ve made,” Coach Heard added. “The GPAC is such a tough conference and earning at least a share of the regular season championship is a great accomplishment for this team and a nice step for our program.”
He went on to add, “That being said, we certainly have more goals in front of us to stay focused on.”
Midland will now sit back and watch the remaining conference games unfold. They are in position to possibly host a portion of the GPAC Postseason Softball Tournament next week. Tournament seeds, pairings, and sites will be released this weekend after all conference games are completed and ties are broken.