Story by Chad Waller, Director of Communications & Sports Information
Pictures courtesy of Rick Dominowski, Click HERE to order
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) advances to play in the championship game after a 3-0 victory against No. 6 Southeastern (Fla.) in a winner’s bracket game tonight at the 36th Annual NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College. Two-time NAIA National Pitcher of the Year Nicole Nonnemacher continued her dominating performance with her third-straight complete-game shutout in the circle.
The Cougars are one win away from its first-ever World Series title as they will play Thursday at 5 p.m. CDT in the championship. St. Xavier could play either Southeastern, Oklahoma City or Auburn Montgomery (Ala.). All three of those teams would have to defeat the Cougars twice, since St. Xavier is the only undefeated World Series team remaining at 3-0.
Nonnemacher finished with nine strikeouts and allowed just three hits in the seven-inning victory. She has tossed all 21 World Series innings for the St. Xavier pitching staff and has not allowed a run. She has combined for 31 strikeouts and given up a mere five hits during that stretch. She now stands 31-4 on the year.
“It’s like a dream come true. It’s different when it is actually happening,” said Nonnemaacher when asked about advancing to the World Series title game.
The Cougar offense supplied Nonnemacher with a little breathing room, something the senior has not been accustomed to recently. St. Xavier only pushed one run across in the previous two World Series wins against Simpson (Calif.) on Friday and Oklahoma City on Monday.
“It definitely helped me stay relaxed (having my offense behind me),” said Nonnemacher. “I knew my defense was there, so it was great.”
Brittany Plimmer’s double to left in the top of the first inning quickly gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead. Plimmer was not done at the plate. The Bloomingdale, Ill., native singled to shortstop in the third frame, and that plated Rebeka Ferguson.
One inning later and leading 2-0, St. Xavier’s Ferguson drove in Callie Brown with a base knock.
From there, Nonnemacher made the score stand as she mowed down Southeastern batters. The Bloomington, Ill., native gave up just three singles and never allowed a Southeastern runner to advance past first base.
Plimmer led the Cougars going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Kasey Kanaga finished 2-for-4.
For Southeastern, pitcher Lindsie Scholwinski dropped to 32-9 in the circle. She allowed three runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out six batters.
Southeastern drops to the elimination bracket and awaits the winner between No. 1 Oklahoma City and No. 2 Auburn Montgomery at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
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.