Story by Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
Pictures courtesy of Rick Dominowski, Click HERE to order
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 3 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) overcame a four-run hole with a huge sixth inning to eliminate host school and No. 7 seed Morningside (Iowa), 9-6, at the 36th Annual NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College. The comeback is the largest (four runs) for any team in the NAIA World Series since 2012.
St. Gregory’s now meets up with the loser of No. 8 Marian (Ind.) and No. 1 Oklahoma City on Monday at 1 p.m. CDT.
The Cavaliers, who fell yesterday by a 10-6 decision to drop into the elimination round, woke up the bats in a seven-run sixth inning. Twelve batters walked to the plate and when the dust settled, St. Gregory’s ended the inning with a 9-6 lead.
The game’s first few innings was a back-and-forth with great defense and timely hitting. Morningside didn’t waste time taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first frame. Rachel Koch, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored on a passed ball.
Katie Godfrey handed St. Gregory’s a 2-1 lead in the third with a two-out, two-RBI single.
In the top of the fourth, the Mustangs’ Morgan Fogelman singled home Marissa Childress and the game was tied at 2-2. That was just the start of Fogelman’s big day at the plate.
Morningside ignited the home crowd of over 500 fans in the sixth inning. Abby Conner walked to lead-off and advanced to second on a base hit by Allie Martinez. Three batters later with the bases loaded, Fogelman uncorked a 0-1 pitch from St. Gregory pitcher Ashli Hafford over the left field fence. It was Fogelman’s seventh homer of the year and handed the Mustangs a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth.
But St. Gregory’s, who has won 47 games on the year and earned the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament Championship, had a response.
With one out in the sixth, a Maria Mercado Contreras single sandwiched a pair of walks and St. Gregory’s was in business with the bases loaded. Janely Cruz doubled to left to bring home two runs and the Cavaliers put on the pressure, trailing 6-4. A Samantha Plott RBI-single chased Morningside starting pitcher Rachel Henks and St. Gregory’s was within a 6-5 score.
New pitcher Aubrey Voboril was greeted immediately by a double off the bat of Jessica Nelson. That liner scored two and all of a sudden, the Cavaliers took the lead for good at 7-6.
St. Gregory’s added two more insurance runs and the Cavaliers completed the largest comeback since May 19, 2012 when Webber International (Fla.) scored eight runs in bottom of the sixth to defeat Thomas (Ga.) by the same 9-6 count.
Sutv Meely recorded four singles to lead the Cavalier hitters. Godfrey and Cruz each tallied two hits.
Fogelman went 2-for-3 for the Mustangs with five RBIs. Also, Elin Landgren and Martinez each posted two base hits.
Hafford was credited with the win in the circle. She lasted 6 1/3 innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits. She struck out three and walked one. Bryn Houlton entered in the seventh and recorded the last two outs to get her third save of the year.
Morningside starting pitcher Henks fell to 22-5. She gave up seven runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. She struck out three and walked four.
Morningside, participating in its first event since Sioux City was awarded the 10-team World Series in 2015, ends its season with a school-record 47-10 overall mark.
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.