Alma, Mich. - The Alma College softball team fell in the NCAA Regional Tournament championship game to Illinois Wesleyan, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon. The Scots' season ends with a record of 29-10.
"It was still a great year, we had high aspirations, a great team, we knew we had a great team, we had great pitching, we had great kids all around, we had some good freshman that we were positive about, and with the senior class we had, those are six great kids. They are great kids that gave us four years of their lives."
"Anyone who thinks this is just a game has never been in this situation where you watch these kids give their souls for four years. It is not just a game in our eyes, it is something more and to watch these six kids, to do what they did to get us here and to keep this program the way it is. We are still conference champions, we are still tournament champions, and nobody can take that away from us."
Pitcher Morgan Stratton (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) finishes her senior year with a record of 21-6, an ERA of 1.27, 167 strikeouts and one save. She set a new career-high in wins and had a career-low in innings pitched this season. She also recorded a complete game in every contest she started.
Alma fell behind in the first inning of the title game off a home run by Shelby Fulk. The Titans' were backed by Mackenzie Marquis who pitched a complete game and allowed one unearned run.
"I knew they were definitely going to be a tough team," said Marquis, "since I threw against them yesterday and they were really good hitters so I knew I had to go out there with my best game, and it was a huge relief to score in the first inning, putting two runs up there definitely makes a huge difference."
"I got to tip my hat to their pitcher, she kind of kept us at bay at times and kind of kept the team down," said Griffin.
Illinois Wesleyan picked up two insurance runs in the seventh. Alma picked up its only run in the bottom half of the inning when Kelsey Spencer (Eaton Rapids, Mich./Eaton Rapids) reached on an error by the shortstop which allowed Katie McClure (Manchester, Mich./Manchester) to score.
Catcher Danielle Service (Mason, Mich./Mason) went 1-for-2 with a walk in the championship game. She had a career year as a senior, posting career highs in all offensive categories: batting average (.387), on base percentage (.438), slugging percentage (.672), RBI (28), runs scored (24) and home runs (9).
"As soon as we stepped into the door, we had a built-in family with this team," said Service. "The coaches and Denny have been nothing but supportive. My teammates have been nothing but supportive from school and being on the field as well. So, I can't think of a better place I could have gone for my academics and for softball, too."
Griffin said of both Stratton and Service, "They are great two young ladies with phenomenal work ethic. They are both die hard workers. As we win, they win. I'm going to miss them, they're like daughters to me."
Three Alma players were named to the Regional All-Tournament team: Stratton, senior Anna Couture (Posen, Mich./Posen) and junior Mary Brooks (Portland, Mich./Portland). Brooks led all teams in the Alma regional round in RBI (5) and doubles (2). Stratton struck out 11 batters and pitched all 24.2 innings for the Scots. Couture led the team with three runs scored to go along with a .400 on-base percentage, a double and an RBI.
Contact: Zach Russo, Assistant Sports Information Director, (989) 463-7436