Ladies Use Late Comeback to Advance to Mid-Con Title Game
Saturday, May 14, 2005

INDEPENDENCE, Mo.—The Centenary Ladies scored four runs in the bottom of the final inning to defeat top seed Southern Utah 4-3 in the winner’s bracket game of the Mid-Continent Conference Softball Tournament on Saturday evening. With the victory, the Ladies advance to the championship game for the second consecutive year and notch their first ever back-to-back 30-win seasons.


Centenary (30-26) was held to just one hit by the Thunderbirds’ Amy Sauer heading into the bottom of the seventh inning trailing 3-0. With one out, Janis Kelley began the rally when she reached and advanced to second on a throwing error by the Southern Utah second baseman. Jennifer Mango followed with a walk before Lindsey Jones singled to center field to push across the Ladies first run.


After Bre Fletcher pinch ran for Jones, Lory Kowaleski singled to score Mango and move Fletcher to third base. Kowaleski stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Dana Davis. Davis’ ground out to the shortstop plated Jennifer Martin, who checked in for Fletcher, and brought Kowaleski to third with two outs. Jennifer Flowers drew the second walk of the inning to bring pinch-hitter Natalie Schoppe to the batter’s box with the game on the line. Flowers stole second and shortly after Schoppe beat out an infield hit to score Kowaleski with the game-winning run.


Southern Utah (23-24) took the initial three-run lead by scoring single runs in each of the fourth, fifth, and seventh innings. Sauer helped her own cause with a solo homerun to start the scoring and an RBI double by Erin Niederhauser made the SUU lead 2-0. Bobbi Jo Merrill notched her fourth homerun on the year in the top of the seventh to round out the scoring for the Thunderbirds.


Kelley made just her fourth pitching start of the year for Centenary and kept the Ladies within striking distance, surrendering three runs on nine hits in six innings of work. Kristan Morton tossed one scoreless inning to earn the win and improve to 9-9 on the season.


Sauer (15-5) took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. She also finished with a 2-for-2 effort at the plate, including her fifth long ball on the year.


Centenary will face the winner of the #1 Southern Utah and #3 Western Illinois elimination game at 1 pm on Sunday in the title game. The Ladies hold the advantage in the double elimination tournament as they must be beaten twice having not suffered a loss yet. The winner of the championship game receives the Mid-Con’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.