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Morningside Coach Reaches 500 Career Milestone

April 25, 2013
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By Dave Rebstock, Morningside Sports Information

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Morningside (Iowa) head softball coach Jessica Jones-Sitzmann won the 500th game of her Mustang coaching career when Morningside blanked Briar Cliff (Iowa), 2-0, in the first game of Wednesday’s Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) doubleheader at the Jensen Softball Complex.
 
Briar Cliff bounced back to win the nightcap 3-1 to put Jones-Sitzmann’s career record at 500-287 in 14 plus seasons as the Mustangs’ head coach. Jones-Sitzmann, a three-time Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Coach of the Year, has guided the Mustangs to four GPAC regular season championships and to four consecutive NAIA National Tournament appearances.
 
Wednesday’s split left the Mustangs with a record of 22-11 and put them at 11-3 in the GPAC standings to remain in a first place tie with Hastings (10-2).
 
Jordan Johnson pitched a five-hit shutout in the opener. Johnson walked two and struck out five while winning for the seventh time in her last eight decisions to improve her season’s record to 11-5.
 
Aside from getting the pitching win, Johnson also figured in the game’s first run in the fourth inning when she reached third base on a dropped fly ball by the right fielder and scored on a single by Mackenzie Neely.
 
The Mustangs added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Taylor Daas walked and scored on a two-out RBI single by Neely.
 
Neely, a two-time NAIA All-American, had two of the Mustangs’ three hits against Charger pitcher Elizabeth Bye with her fourth and sixth inning RBI singles. Daas had the Mustangs’ other hit with a leadoff double in the first inning.
 
Bye walked two and struck out three.
 
The Mustangs also had only three hits in the nightcap against Charger pitcher Jennifer Belluscio, but still had several scoring opportunities thanks to six walks Belluscio issued.
 
Morningside left eight runners on base in the nightcap, but Belluscio worked her way out of first and second inning jams and kept the Mustangs off the scoreboard until the fifth inning when Shelby Feldt singled and scored on a Johnson sacrifice fly to right field that the wind knocked down and kept in the park. The wind knocked down another potential home run later in the inning when Kati Steffen flew out to left field with two runners on base.
 
Briar Cliff had only six hits against Morningside pitcher Emma Remy, but three of them came in the third inning when the Chargers scored the first two runs of the game. The big hit was a RBI single by Laura Sosa that drove in the game’s first run.
 
The Chargers had their other three hits in the fourth inning when Belluscio led off with a single, advanced to third on a double by Celena Vasquez, and scored on a two-out single by Sosa.
 
Remy allowed six hits with two walks and three strikeouts while going the distance.
 
Morningside’s three hits were singles by Johnson, Feldt, and Kirsten Dargy.