Story by Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
Pictures courtesy of Rick Dominowski, Click HERE to order
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 10-seed Webber International (Fla.) opened up the 36th Annual NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College, with a 5-2 victory over host school and No. 7 Morningside (Iowa) Thursday. The Warriors, who improve to 31-14 on the year, advance to face two-time defending national champion Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) Saturday at 4 p.m. CDT.
Webber International’s Brandi Hazen staked her team to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Her two-run blast – the team-leading 11th on the year by the junior infielder – plated Alyssa Householder, who reached on a single. Householder and Shanelly Brown led the Warriors in the contest with two hits apiece.
Morningside responded with a single run in the top of the third courtesy of a Rachel Koch RBI-single. With two outs, Moriah Bohlmann and Elin Landgren recorded back-to-back base hits. Koch found a hole up the middle to score Bohlmann.
In the bottom half of the third, Webber International added two more runs to take a 4-1 lead. Laura Borders laid down a bunt, which scored Shanelly Brown from third base. A batter later, Erika Bellinger doubled to score Brandi Hazen.
Pitching with a three-run lead, Warrior starting pitcher Erika Bellinger shut down the Morningside bats the rest of the way. She allowed just two hits in the final four innings – one which resulted in a solo home run by Morningside’s Koch in the sixth inning.
Bellinger improved to 12-3 on the year as she finished with six strikeouts, zero walks and allowed two runs on five hits. The senior from Longwood, Fla., -- all Webber International players hail from the state of Florida – tossed her eighth complete game of the year.
Aubrey Voboril fell to 21-3 in the circle for Morningside. She lasted 4.0 innings and allowed five runs on six hits. The loss marked Voboril’s first since March 11 in a 6-3 setback against Friends (Kan.).
Koch was the leading Mustang hitter as she went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored.
With the loss, Morningside has its eight-game win streak snapped. The Mustangs fall to the loser’s bracket and play Saturday at 1 p.m. against the loser of No. 3 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) and No. 6 Southeastern (Fla.).
Webber International becomes the first No. 10 seed to win in the first round since 2013 when the current 10-team double-elimination format went into effect.
The double-elimination event is being played out at the Elizabeth & Irving Jensen Softball Complex. The City of Sioux City and Morningside College serve as official hosts for the second-straight time. For more information on the 2016 NAIA Softball World Series, click here.