The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Sports

May 13, 2013

AU softball's flying high

Ravens win first NCAA regional title in program history

ANDERSON, Ind. — In early April, the Anderson University softball team was scuffling along at 1-3 in league play and thinking positive thoughts about remaining in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title race.

On Friday, the Ravens (31-16) will be one of just eight teams still alive in the NCAA Div. III national championship race.

That’s the difference some hot bats, clutch pitching and cool attitudes will make for a ballclub.

“Our big goal was to win conference,” leadoff hitter and Highland graduate Katie Lee said. “So when we got conference, it was like, ‘Hey, let’s have fun. Let’s be cool, calm and collected.’ And it got us all the way through.”

Anderson made history just a little more than a week ago when it became the first team ever to win the HCAC postseason tournament in three consecutive years.

Turns out the Ravens were just getting started.

Lee drove in the first run early Monday afternoon in a 5-1 victory against Allegheny in the regional final at Trine University. The win was AU’s fifth in an elimination game in three days, and it earned the team a trip to the Div. III World Series for the first time.

Senior Devin Moorman, the 2012 HCAC pitcher of the year, surrendered four hits and struck out seven over five innings to earn the victory in the circle. Freshman Sami Frazier, the 2013 HCAC pitcher of the year, allowed just one hit and struck out five in the final two innings to get the save.

Amy Wuestefeld, the HCAC MVP, had two hits — including an inside-the-park home run to put the Ravens up 3-0 in the third inning — and added two RBIs and two runs scored to lead the offense.

Anderson also got RBIs from Lee and regional MVP Yardley Collett of Shenandoah, as well as doubles by Natalie Moorhouse, Megan Ream and Katy Ogden.

And Samantha Steele, the designated player who never hit the ball out of the infield all weekend, picked up two of her nine hits in the championship contest. Her overall effort — and tremendous speed — was enough to earn a spot on the all-tournament team.

“We’re all peaking at the right time so it’s awesome,” Moorman said. “It really helps with the confidence going into the biggest games of my life.”

It’s going to be tough to beat the games the Ravens just played.

They opened the tournament last Thursday with an upset victory against top-seeded Trine, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation, but lost a day later against Aurora in the second round.

That set up a mad dash to the championship that included all those elimination-game victories.

It began quietly enough with a 9-6 victory against Thomas More to stay alive on Saturday morning. In the late afternoon, however, the Ravens made plenty of noise with a 10-6 win in a rematch against Trine (38-4) that ended the hosts’ season.

“We knew going into those games that they were going to be very tough games, and Trine’s always a great game between us,” Collett said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re here or there. So that (sweep) did prepare us, but we know that this next step is going to be even tougher.”

On Sunday morning, Anderson faced a rematch against Aurora.

Senior Lauren Smith kept the Ravens’ alive with a storybook finish. With two outs, the bases loaded and a full count at the plate, Smith singled home the winning run in a 4-3 victory.

“Bottom of the seventh, bases loaded, full count, two outs, what a better scenario for a game of softball?” AU head coach Tony Holloway said. “Clutch hit. Then we come back and have to force an ‘if’ game, and our bats just exploded yesterday.”

Because the Ravens advanced out of the losers’ bracket, they had to defeat Allegheny twice to win the title.

AU scored nine runs in the final two innings and blasted its way to a 16-4 victory Sunday afternoon. But the win wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

It was close early, and the Ravens got the benefit of the bounce when a ball that seemed destined to be an RBI hit instead ricocheted off Smith and to first base for an inning-ending out.

“I think if you would have told us you’re going to get to the championship game of the regional and put 16 runs on the board, I’d say you bumped your head,” Holloway said.

On Monday morning, AU sprinted to a 3-0 lead against Allegheny and never looked back.

Holloway said he was never more calm at any point this season than he was entering regional play. And his players said that relaxed attitude is what allowed them to win game after game with the season on the line.

Now they’ll head to Eau Claire, Wis., for the World Series, where their first opponent will be 18th-ranked Luther (32-9) at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

The Ravens don’t know much about the opposition, but they know teams don’t advance this far by accident. And they know they have plenty of softball left to play.

“I think we’re already ready to get back out there,” Collett said. “Well, we need a couple days’ rest, I think. But we’re ready to get up to Wisconsin and play some more ball. We’re not done yet.”

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Lions star plays in national tourneys Liberty Christian senior Chris Nunn, a three-year starting guard for the Lions and Indiana Class Basketball Junior All-Star, took his talents on the road this summer,competing in back-to-back tournaments with his AAU travel team, Team Progeny.

    July 28, 2014

  • Dorer scores JEGS win at Anderson Florida driver Steve Dorer has had career moments at Anderson Speedway, and at other times ones he would just like to forget. Dorer recorded the biggest win of his career when he passed Chase Elliott on the final lap in the 2011 Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300. The next year he flipped in Turn 1 during the CRA Super Series event. He scored another highlight Saturday night by winning for the first time with the CRA/JEGS All-Stars Tour event in the Edgewater Woods 100.|ANDERSON — Florida driver Steve Dorer has had career moments at Anderson Speedway, and at other times ones he would just like to forget. Dorer recorded the biggest win of his career when he passed Chase Elliott on the final lap in the 2011 Stoops Fre

    July 27, 2014

  • Hoosier Park preparing for 2014 Dan Patch Invitational One of the most highly anticipated days on the harness racing card at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will take place Aug. 8 as the best in the sport of harness racing will descend upon the seven-eighths mile oval for the 21st edition of the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational. As part of a weekend long festival of entertainment and racing, 10 of the top-rated pacers in North America will take center stage as they go to post seeking glory in Hoosier Park’s signature harness racing event.

    July 26, 2014

  • Riverside falls at regional The Riverfield Little League Senior softball all-star team fell 9-3 to Ohio on Saturday morning and was eliminated from regional competition in the 15-16 year-old division.

    July 26, 2014

  • NWS - HB0727 - Leadville story photo - Jeff Mason Leadville: 'Baddest of the bad'

    An Anderson mountain biker will test himself in one of the sport’s biggest events next month. Jeff Mason will be in the Rocky Mountains for the Leadville Trail 100 on Aug. 9.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Riddle again steps down as Frankton coach

    For the second time in a storied coaching career at Frankton High School, Dean Riddle has resigned his post as the girls varsity basketball coach.

    July 26, 2014

  • Marcum claims Late Model win Morristown driver Jeff Marcum has watched victories in the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Models slip away this season, but that changed Saturday at Anderson Speedway.

    July 20, 2014

  • SPT - HB0720 - Mireles art Mireles looks toward future after all-star finale Surrounded by his friends and family near midfield under the lights of Friday night, Elwood’s Sammy Mireles did something he’s never done in his career. The state’s all-time leading rusher freely absorbed a hit.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0720 - Tennis Classic - JC 1 Hiatt repeats, Hammel wins first title at tennis classic There was a repeat winner and a first-time winner in the Men's A Singles and Women's A Singles championship matches on Saturday morning at the 34th annual Community Hospital Anderson Tennis Classic.

    July 19, 2014 4 Photos

  • SPT - HB0718 - Tennis Classic logo Varsity mixed doubles champs crowned at Tennis Classic The scene slightly resembled a war zone and slightly a country club at Anderson University on Thursday afternoon. As Indianapolis Colts personnel started tearing down tennis court bleachers and parked what appeared to be nearly 100 golf carts in preparation for training camp starting on Thursday next week, one of the first titles was handed out in the Community Hospital Anderson Tennis Classic.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Latest Sports Photos


Click here to browse and buy photos from The Herald Bulletin