Ladies Softball Earns Return Trip to NCAA Tournament
Sunday, May 15, 2005



INDEPENDENCE, Mo.—The Centenary Ladies softball team used a grand slam and a shutout pitching performance to defeat Western Illinois in the Mid-Continent Conference championship game 9-0 on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Ladies remain undefeated in Mid-Con Tournament play (6-0) and repeat as tournament champions. Centenary has now earned the Mid-Con’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament for the second time in only two years in the conference.

 

Centenary (31-26) jumped on Mid-Con Pitcher of the Year Karenmarie Pena for the second time in as many days. The scoring began immediately as the Ladies posted a six-run first inning and sailed to the title behind stellar pitching from Jessica Ivins and Janis Kelley.

 

Ivins (19-12) held Western Illinois (25-29) scoreless through 4 1/3 innings for the win while scattering eight hits and striking out three. The freshman did not allow a run in all 11 1/3 innings of work in the tournament. Kelley tossed the final 1 2/3 innings for the Ladies to secure the Mid-Con crown.

 

With two outs in the first inning, the bases were loaded for Centenary’s Jennifer Mango after two walks and a single. The freshman took advantage of the pressure situation by launching her fourth homerun of the season and the first grand slam of her career to give the Ladies an early 4-0 lead.

 

A Lindsey Jones walk and a Lory Kowaleski single primed Centenary for another scoring opportunity. Jones and Kowaleski then pulled off a double steal, but the throw to third sailed high, allowing Jones to score and Kowaleski to move into third base. Dana Davis promptly singled to left field to stake the Ladies to a 6-0 advantage and ended the day for the WIU hurler.

 

The score remained the same until Centenary struck again in the bottom of the fifth when a Jones double plated Kelley with the Ladies seventh run of the afternoon. The game then ended on a two-run walk-off homer by Micah Rhodes in the sixth to force the eight-run mercy rule into effect. The long ball was the team-leading seventh of the year for Rhodes.  

 

Centenary’s Lindsey Jones was named the MVP of the tournament after driving in five runs in three contests and notching a hit in every game. Jones had a hit, an RBI and scored a run in the title game. Davis, Katie Harwick, Ivins, and Mango joined Jones on the 2005 Mid-Con Softball All-Tournament team.

 

The Ladies will travel to College Station, Texas, next weekend for the first round of the 2005 NCAA Softball Tournament. Centenary received a #3 seed in the four-team regional hosted by Texas A&M and will face second-seeded Penn State on Friday. The Aggies will serve as the top seed in the regional while Southland Conference tournament champion McNeese State claimed the fourth seed.

 

 

2005 Mid-Con Softball All-Tournament Team
Blair Branson, IUPUI
Amanda Bowman, IUPUI
Tiffany Burt, Southern Utah
Dana Davis, Centenary
Sarah Fleischmann, Western Illinois
Katie Harwick Centenary
Jessica Ivins, Centenary
Corie Jensen, Southern Utah
Lindsey Jones, Centenary (MVP)
Jennifer Mango, Centenary
Karenmarie Pena, Western Illinois
Amy Sauer, Southern Utah
Meghan Strazar, Western Illinois
Erin Zeller, Western Illinois