Story by Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
Pictures courtesy of Rick Dominowski, Click HERE to order
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 6 Southeastern (Fla.) was impressive at its debut in the 36th Annual NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College, as the Fire out-lasted No. 3 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) by a 10-6 count in the final game of Day 1. Southeastern compiled three big innings at the plate and finished with 12 hits, including four extra-base hits, to advance to the winner’s bracket Monday.
The Fire play Monday at 7 p.m. CDT against the winner of two-time defending national champion No. 2 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) and No. 10 Webber International (Calif.).
Since the NAIA National Championship Opening Round began May 16, Southeastern has now hammered out 35 runs in four games. The Fire continued that trend tonight, starting in the second inning.
Taylor Stoltz, who led the Fire with three hits on the night, drove home the game’s first run on an RBI single. Two other runs scored on an overthrow by the second baseman. When the dust settled, Southeastern sent eight batters to the plate and led 3-0.
In the top of the fourth, St. Gregory’s Ashli Hafford drove in a run on a RBI single. Three batters later, Samantha Plott crossed home on an error – one of three by the Fire – to bring St. Gregory’s to within a 3-2 score.
The Fire answered with four runs in the bottom of the fourth to go up 7-2. The first four batters reached base, with Stoltz posting another RBI single in that sequence. A highlight was Anna Martin’s double to centerfield that closed the Southeastern scoring for the inning.
St. Gregory’s still had a burst in them, scoring three more in the fifth. Sammy Leisinger singled home a run and the next batter, Ashli Hafford, powered a two-run blast over the left field fence. At that point, the Cavaliers trailed 7-5.
The score got to 7-6 after an RBI-double by St. Gregory’s Jessica Nelson in the top of the sixth.
But, Southeastern iced the game away in the bottom half of the sixth on a RBI-double by Brandee Pietrzak and a two-run homer by Cat Maldonado.
Stoltz led a quartet of Southeastern hitters with multiple hits. She was joined by Pietrzak with two RBIs each.
Hafford went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and one run scored to highlight the St. Gregory’s 11-hit attack. Jessica Nelson, Ashli Godfrey and Janely Cruz all gathered two hits.
On the pitching side, Southeastern starter Lindsie Scholwinski lasted all 7.0 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on 11 hits. She improved to 32-8 on the year, which is one win behind NAIA leader Taylor Powell of Auburn Montgomery.
Bryn Houlton allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. She was hit with the loss and dropped to 17-3 on the year.
St. Gregory’s falls to the loser’s bracket and will match up with No. 7 Morningside (Iowa) Saturday at 1 p.m.
Stretch Internet, the NAIA’s official video-streaming company of NAIA national championship events, will be broadcasting all 19 games of the 2016 NAIA Softball World Series on the NAIA Network. The All-World Series package can be purchased for $29.95 or the day package for $9.95. For more information, including how to register for an account, click here.
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.