GULF SHORES, Ala. - Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) went undefeated in Pool H after a 7-2 victory over William Penn (Iowa) at the NAIA Softball National Championship. The Warhawks won the four-team pool and advance to play on Monday at 10 a.m. CDT in the double-elimination bracket. Their opponent is the winner of Pool A. The event is being held at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex for the second-straight year.
Warhawk starter Brandi Richards was again dominating in the circle. She fanned 15 Lady Statesmen in five innings and allowed just one run on two hits in five innings. In 15.0 innings worked in this championship, she has struck out 26 already.
After the two teams traded a couple runs in the first inning, the Warhawks got their offense going in the third. Kacie Ryal, who led all hitters with a 4-for-4 effort, singled home Katie Cornelius to put Auburn Montgomery up 3-1. Auburn Montgomery added three more runs in the fourth inning courtesy of four hits. There were three singles and a run-producing double off the bat of Richards. In addition to her pitching effort, Richards went 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored.
Brianne Rowley notched a solo homer in the first and Ashley Stream had a RBI-single in the seventh for the lone Lady Statesmen runs.
In addition to Ryan, the offensive stars for the Warhawks were Jyssica Pepper and Laci Driggers. Both players had three hits, while Pepper scored three times in the lead-off spot. Rowley led William Penn with a 2-for-3 effort.
In the second game of Pool H today, Azusa Pacific (Calif.) won a marathon in 10 innings, 5-4, over Olivet Nazarene (Ill.). The Cougars got back-to-back RBI hits from Olivia Wilcox and Erika Marmolejo in the top of the 10th frame to seal APU's 2-1 record in pool play. Olivet made it interesting in the bottom half of the 10th by sending seven Tigers to the plate.
Jordan Truelock scored Molly Anderson on a RBI-single. The Tigers loaded the bases with no outs and forced out Cougar pitcher Rita Kim. Reliever Taryn Devich entered the game and silenced the Tiger rally by striking out her first two batters and forcing a fly-out to end the contest.
Wilcox and Angie Sprague both tallied four hits for Azusa Pacific. Brandi Andrews had a trio of RBI. Olivet Nazarene's Hannah Gardner and Megan Butler each posted three hits.
Azusa Pacific plated three runs in the top of the first thanks to a two-RBI double from Andrews. The Tigers countered with a pair in the bottom of the first. Erika Tatum had a sacrifice fly and Cheryl Sendzik knocked a triple to right to push across both runs.