The Alma softball team faced elimination on Friday in the second day of the MIAA Tournament, and came out ready to play. The Scots played Hope College, and came away with a 5-1 win to advance to the championship round against undefeated Trine University.
However, the Scots lost a tough 8-6 decision to the Thunder and will now await the NCAA selection show on Monday to see their postseason fate. Alma, the #11 ranked team in the country, is now 33-6 on the 2011 season, while Trine sits at 27-11.
For the Scots in the Hope contest, Jr. DH Erin Pintek (Flushing, MI/Flushing) went three for four, while Sr. CF Kelly Koenigsknecht (Fowler, MI/Fowler) was two for four. Jr. C Becca DeWyse (Bay City, MI/Bay City All Saints) finished two for four with a run batted in.
In the deciding game, Sarah Belote belted a two-run, walkoff home run in the bottom of the seventh Friday to lift Trine to an 8-6 victory over Alma, nailing down the championship of the MIAA softball tournament and an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
DeWyse had two hits in the game versus Trine, along with Jr. 1B Emily Ross (Buchanan, MI/Buchanan), who also had two hits and scored two runs. So. Erin Rodes (Plymouth, MI/Plymouth) had a big afternoon, going two for three, with three runs batted in, and So. RF Amanda Schneider (New Baltimore, MI/Anchor Bay) added a big RBI and scored two runs. The other RBI of the game came from a squeeze bunt off the bat of So. Shelby O'Dowd (Jenison, MI/Jenison).
The Thunder (27-11), who were seeded fourth in the four-team tournament, surged to a 6-3 lead after five innings, but the MIAA champion Scots (33-6) rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth to tie the score. Trine posted a perfect 3-0 record for the tournament.
It marks the second year in a row where Trine won the MIAA tournament after Alma had won the conference championship. The Thunder advance to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
The NCAA will announce the tournament field at noon Monday during during its selection show, which will be streamed on www.ncaa.com.