The Alma College Softball team defeats IWU 1-0 in extra innings

The Alma College Softball team defeats IWU 1-0 in extra innings

After action was suspended yesterday due to inclement weather the time for the Alma College Softball team had finally arrived as they took on the host and #9 nationally ranked Illinois Wesleyan University.

Before today's contest Alma entered with an overall record of 25-15 having won 15 of their last 20 match ups. Illinois Wesleyan entered with an overall record of 36-8.

Alma as the #4 seed took down #1 seed Illinois Wesleyan 1-0 in an extra inning battle. "It was a good old fashion pitching duel and the addition of solid defense made the win possible," said Coach Griffin. "Walks throughout the entire game got us to that stage in the eighth to get the two hits to earn the win."

The starting line up for the Scots:

So. IF Anna Couture (Posen/Posen)
Jr. IF Kayla Merice (Dorr/Wayland)
Sr. IF Devan Olah (White Lake/Lakeland)
Sr. IF Lea Lusk (Columbiaville/Lakeville)
Fr. OF Mary Brooks (Portland/Portland)
Jr. IF Sarah Collier (Fenton/Fenton)
Sr. OF Brooke Hein (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Northview)
Sr. IF Cori Witham (North Muskegon/North Muskegon)
Sr. OF Marie Zill (Chelsea/Chelsea)

In the circle for the Scots was So. P Morgan Stratton (Grand Blanc/Grand Blanc)

Alma saw themselves as the away team taking the first at bats in the top of the first inning. Illinois Wesleyan struck out the first two at bats after both batters battled to a 3-2 count. The third batter for the Scots retired after a foul ball pop up to the third baseman.

Stratton stepped into the circle for the Scots in the bottom of the first inning. The first two outs for the Titans were groundouts to Olah at the shortstop position. The final and consecutive out resulted from a groundout to third baseman, Lusk.  
 
In the top of the second lead off batter, Lusk also had a 3-2 count and earned the walk to put the first runner on base for the game. So. OF Celeste Boyer (South Lyon/South Lyon East) came in to the game as the pinch runner for Lusk. Brooks put down the sacrifice bunt down the third base line advancing Boyer to second bringing just one out for the Scots. Batter, Collier grounded out while advancing Boyer to third. A fly ball to center field ended the top of the second inning stranding one Alma runner on base.
In the bottom of the second inning Alma retired the first three batters with a fly out, ground out, and strikeout from Stratton.

Moving in to the top of the third inning the Scots lead off stood in the eighth position. Two consecutive strikeouts for the Titans, followed by movement to the top of the lineup which was Couture who walked but was caught stealing second for the third out of the inning.

The pitching duel continued as Stratton strikes out the first two batters in the Titan lineup in the bottom of the third inning. A groundout ended the third inning as neither teams have recorded a hit this far through the ball game. Stratton had recorded three strikeouts through three innings.
Two outs on the board in the top of the fourth inning, but Lusk kept the hope alive with another strong at bat resulting in a walk. Another strikeout for Titans pitcher Jenna Noland, her fifth of the game, concluded the top of the fourth.
The Scots looked to get the first hit of the game in the top of the fifth inning, and that's exactly what they did. Two outs on the board and Witham hit a single up the middle. Pinch runner, Sr. Breu Olling (Breckenridge/Breckenridge) would be stranded on base when the next Scots batter struck out swinging.
Titans answered with a hit themselves in the bottom of the fifth from their lead off batter. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second but Stratton notched her fifth strikeout and a groundout followed leaving one Titan runner on base.

Two outs in the top of the sixth inning for the Scots, but Olah found herself on base due to a walk. So. OF Kelsey Spencer (Eaton Rapids/Eaton Rapids) came in as the pinch runner, Lusk was next to bat who also walked moving Spencer up. Alma tried to battle back after having two outs but a strikeout ended the inning leaving two Scots runners on base.

Defense by Alma prevailed in the bottom of the sixth inning, bringing down the first three Titan batters.

In the top of the seventh Alma had their last at bat in regulation innings yet unfortunately came up short when no Scots got on base due to two groundouts and a strikeout from the first three batters.

Big defense was needed from the Scots to bring the game into extra innings. Stratton struck out the first Titan batter. A single and intentional walk gave the Titans hope but a groundout and another strikeout concluded regular innings.

The top of the eighth inning belonged to the Scots as lead off batter Zill lined a single up the middle. Couture put down the sacrifice bunt down putting Zill in scoring position. A fly out gave the Scots their first out of the inning. Olah hit an RBI single through the right side scoring Zill giving the Scots the first and only run of the day! 

Solid defense won the game for Alma in the bottom of the eighth inning when the first three batters were retired due to a ground out, strikeout, and another ground out.

"We knew it was time to capitalize and string hits together, and I knew the ones behind me would hit me in" quoted Zill.

Stratton put on a show today as she pitched 8.0 innings allowing no runs on two hits, walking only one and an intentional walk, all while striking out eight batters. 

Alma's record now moves to 26-15 and they advance into the winner's bracket of the 2015 NCAA Regional tournament. Alma will play immediately after at 11:30 a.m., the winner of game one yesterday, Simpson College.