Lady Red Hawks lose national title game by one run
Simpson University Sports News
TROUTVILLE, Va. - Simpson University women's softball team was one run away from winning its first national title in school history on Saturday, May 14. The Lady Red Hawks, however, fell short of their goal. They lost 2-1 to North Greenville University in the championship game.
In order to reach the NCCAA National championship game, Simpson had to defeat No. 1 Central Baptist University in the loser's bracket championship game. Central Baptist came into Saturday with just one loss against Geneva College in their opening game on Thursday. The Lady Red Hawks lost their first game on Friday night to North Greenville. The team who lost the loser's bracket championship would be eliminated from the tournament. The winner would advance to the national title game against North Greenville.
The Lady Red Hawks were able to pull off their third shut out of the tournament against Central Baptist. They won the loser's bracket championship 2-0.
With the advancement into the championship game, the Simpson still had some work to do in order to beat North Greenville not just once, but twice. In order for Simpson to win the title, they would have to win two straight games.
In the first game, Simpson provided a wealth of contribution on the scoreboard tallying nine runs, while giving up only four hits in a scoreless game. Freshman designated hitter Chelsea Dunn went 3-for-4 with thee RBI. Junior Paige Gomez contributed another three RBI.
In the top of the first, the Lady Red Hawks took a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Morgan Davis scored off junior Brooke Down's single. Sophomore Nicole Hutchins and Downs scored on Dunn's double. Simpson added two runs to their score in the top of the second. Hutchins scored an unearned run and Downs scored and junior Nicki Feuerbach's single. In the top of the fourth Simpson capped off their scoring by earning another four runs to bring their lead to 9-0. Downs scored her third run of the game off junior Valerie Rodriguez's single. Junior Corrine Alexander, Rodriguez, and Dunn all scored on Gomez's double.
Junior Amanda Crocker picked up the win. She pitched five scoreless innings. She only gave up fours hits. She struck out five batters.
The second ("if " or "rubber") game was necessary to decide which team would be the NCCAA National champion. In the second inning, Simpson led 1-0 from a RBI single from Gomez which allowed Rodriguez to score. In the bottom of the fourth inning, North Greenville's Taylor Roof slapped a double into left field. NGU's Campbell snuck a floating single into short right field scoring Roof to even the score 1-1.
The game remained tied 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh inning. North Greenville's Marielena Santos stepped to the plate and crushed the ball for a stand-up triple to give the Crusaders a runner in scoring position. Immediately following the big NGU hit, Simpson brought in pitching relief with Davis. On her first pitch, the ball escaped the catcher's glove allowing the speedy Santos to score the championship-winning run. North Greenville University won 2-1 to secure the 2011 NCCAA Women's Softball National Championship title despite their 23-25 record.
The Lady Red Hawks continue their post-season play with a trip to the NAIA National Tournament in Golf Shores, Ala., on Thursday, May 19-Thursday, May 26. This is the first time Simpson will compete in the NAIA National Tournament. They received an automatic bid to the tournament by defeating William Jessup University in the NAIA West Regional Qualifying Tournament championship game on Saturday, April 30.
Story courtesy of the NCCAA
Contact: Derrick Pringle, Jr.