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Madonna's White Reaches 500 Wins

April 08, 2013
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On a day where the Madonna (Mich.) softball team swept its Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference doubleheader against Indiana Tech on Saturday (April 6), MU head coach Al White joined yet another exclusive fraternity with his 500th career win.
 
White is the dean of Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) coaches, having posted a 500-260-4 record in 14-plus seasons. White's 500 career wins are the most in league history while he has been named the WHAC's Coach of the Year four times (2004, '08, '09, '10). He's led the Crusaders to five WHAC regular season titles (2005, '08, '09, '10, '12) and six WHAC Tournament titles (2004, '07 '08, '09, '10, '12).
 
White's career win totals have increased dramatically in the last five years as the Crusaders' reputation on the national scene also increased. Since 2008, White's teams have won a minimum of 34 games a season with the 2009 squad setting a program record with 53 wins. The 2010 Crusaders won 43 games while last season MU was victorious 34 times. All three of those squads advanced to the NAIA National Championship.
 
Under White's direction, the Crusaders have advanced to the NAIA National Championship three times in the last four seasons (2009, '10, '12). White has mentored a pair of Crusaders who have been named WHAC Pitcher of the Year - Erin Brockert (2005) and Jess Irwin (2008, '09, '10, '11) - as well as three WHAC Players of the Year in Cat Sidor (2010), Jackie Barley (2012) and Brockert (2006). White has seen his players named to the All-WHAC first team 45 times while 37 times his players have been named to the Academic All-WHAC team. MU has ended two of the last four seasons ranked in the NAIA Coaches' Top 25 poll - No. 13 in 2009 and No. 23 in 2010 - and MU began the 2011 season ranked at No. 17.
 
White was inducted into the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame in 2011 for his playing career in men's modified fast pitch softball.  White is also one of three MU head coaches to reach 500 career victories, joining baseball skipper Greg Haeger who passed 500 wins in 2012 and head volleyball coach Jerry Abraham who reached the 1,000-win mark last fall. White assisted Abraham with the 1994 softball squad that made MU's first appearance in the NAIA National Championship.
 
The Crusaders rolled to a 9-0 win in Saturday's opener before having to rally and hang on in a 4-3 victory to complete the sweep of Indiana Tech in a Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference doubleheader at Havenhurst Park.
 
Senior right fielder Amber Rafko led MU with three hits and was one of three Crusaders with two runs batted in during game one. Freshman second baseman Emma Cook and junior catcher Kristen Drabek each had two hits for MU.
 
The Crusaders plated a single run in the second when Drabek singled down the left field line to score Rafko from third for a 1-0 lead.
 
MU blew the game open with six runs in the fourth as five of the first six batters reached base. Sophomore center fielder Karleigh Creighton led off with a double and came home on a Drabek double for a 2-0 lead. Junior third baseman Carlee Meek followed two batters later with a double that scored Drabek, making it 3-0. Cook drove in Meek with a single that made it 4-0 before junior designated player Caitlyn Keuvelaar singled home a pair of runs for a 6-0 lead. Keuvelaar came home to cap the scoring on a Rafko double that increased the Madonna lead to 7-0.
 
MU scored a pair of runs in the sixth to invoke the run rule. Cook reached on a fielder's choice before coming all the way around and stealing home for an 8-0 lead. Rafko followed with a double that scored Keuvelaar for the 9-0 final.
 
Sophomore righty Bree Crampton earned her ninth win of the season, throwing a complete game and striking out five. Crampton did not allow a runner past second base and scattered three hits in her six innings of work.
 
Sam Berrios took the loss for Tech, giving up six runs. Three different Warriors picked up base hits in the loss.
 
The Crusaders collected four hits in game two with Cook, Creighton, Drabek and Rafko picking up the hits.
 
Indiana Tech took a 2-0 lead after scoring single runs in the second and third before MU could get on the board in the fifth. After senior shortstop Arielle Cox walked, Cook doubled to score the first MU run of the game and make it 2-1.
 
The Crusaders pulled even in the sixth on a RBI ground out from Drabek that plated Rafko to make it 2-2.
 
MU took the lead for good in the top of the seventh as Cox led off with a walk and after moving to third on a Tech miscue, came home on Keuvelaar's single for a 3-2 lead. Cook – who reached on the error – came home on Rafko's RBI ground out for a 4-2 lead.
 
Tech pulled within a run in the last of the seventh off of Meek but head coach Al White brought Crampton back in with runner on first and second and only one out. Crampton recorded the second out with a strikeout before getting a pop out to Meek at third to end the game and pick up her third save of the season.
 
Meek (6-1) threw the first six and one-third innings and did not allow a walk in earning her sixth win of the year and the 500th for White.
 
Jenevie Rivas (0-4) took the loss for Tech, giving up four runs on four hits while striking out five.