For The Herald Bulletin
ANGOLA, Ind. —
The Anderson University softball team defeated Aurora University 4-3 and then knocked off Allegheny 16-4 in the first championship game of the NCAA Div. III Regional on Sunday in Angola.
The two victories forced a second championship game Monday at 10 a.m. The winner will advance to the NCAA Div. III World Series this weekend in Eau Claire, Wis.
In the first game against Aurora, Lauren Smith drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded, two outs and a full count.
“That was a big hit, and Lauren has been a clutch player all season,” said AU coach Tony Holloway. “Devin (Moorman) threw a great five innings, and Sami (Frazier) picked up right where she left off to give us a chance in the bottom of the seventh inning.”
Moorman took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before three straight hits chased her from the game. She finished with a career-high nine strikeouts.
Frazier gave up a hit to the first batter she faced before retiring the final seven hitters. Those were the only four hits of the contest, but they tied the game at 3-3.
After a scorless four innings, the Ravens plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Katie Lee drove in the first run with an RBI single, and Yardley Collett followed with a two-run single to make it 3-0.
Against Allegheny in the first championship game, the Ravens jumped on the Gators early with a run in the first and another in the second inning. They added three more runs in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead.
“We felt we needed to score right away,” said Holloway. “Amy (Wuestefeld) started it off with a triple, and we jumped out to a 5-0 lead.”
Allegheny cut the lead to 5-3 with three runs in the third, but AU responded with one in the fourth and fifth, four in the sixth and five more in the seventh to blow the game open.
“We came out and played well as a team, and we had some big hits,” said Holloway. “We have come through a lot of good teams, and we hope to bring the same bats we brought today on Monday.”
Collett and Natalie Moorhouse led the Ravens’ offense with two hits and two RBIs each, and Katy Ogden added a home run and four RBIs.
Wuestefeld and Lys Hess added two hits and an RBI each, and Lee chipped in with a double, three runs and two RBIs. Smith and Hannah Belvo also had RBI hits in the contest.
Smith earned the victory in relief, allowing just two hits and no earned runs in four innings of work while striking out one. Frazier went the first three innings, allowing six hits and three runs while striking out one.
“We are one game away from our ultimate goal of going to the World Series,” said Holloway. “All we ask our players for is a chance to play for a championship, and on Monday we are going to get that chance.”