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Simon Fraser Wins NAIA Softball National Championship

May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

DECATUR, Ala. - (Final Bracket) Simon Fraser (B.C.) freshman Rosie Murphy raced home on a wild pitch that went to the backstop on an intentional walk to score the go-ahead run and lift the Clan to a 4-3 win over Oklahoma City and claim the 2010 NAIA Softball National Championship Wednesday at Wilson Morgan Softball Complex. The title is the fourth for the Clan in 14 trips to the national championship, previously taking home the banner in 1999, 2003 and 2005. Simon Fraser senior Jessie Harris was named the national championship's Most Valuable Player.

"I have a ton of respect for [Oklahoma City head] Coach [Phil] McSpadden and his team," Simon Fraser head coach Mike Renney said. "They have a fabulous program. I've faced him three times in the championship game, so this is a rivalry, but it hasn't been as of late. This type of game, this is what you want in a national championship. We would have liked to have scored off of a single up the middle, but scoring the winning run off of a wild pitch works, too. We plan for plays like that. She [Rosie Murphy] did the right thing. I yelled `SCORE!' and she did what she was told."

Both teams were not strangers to playing on the big stage, especially against each other. Wednesday's national championship game was the third meeting between the two storied programs, with Simon Fraser getting the best of the Stars for a second time. The first meeting between these two teams came in 1999, with the Clan prevailing 7-3. Oklahoma City avenged the loss in 2001, winning 5-3. All three of these games have featured veteran head coaches, OCU's 22-year skipper McSpadden and 16-year Simon Fraser guide Renney, going head-to-head.

"To win a national championship you not only have to beat the team, but you have to beat the coach," Reeney said. "You have to bring your A-game."

The championship game appearance was the seventh for Simon Fraser and is now 4-3 all-time in the title game. Their final season record stands at 28-14.

Oklahoma City is now 8-4 all-time in national championship games and is 99-36 in 24 trips to the event. The Stars' 99 wins in the national championship is tops among all NAIA softball programs. They finished 4-3 in Dectaur and were plagued by errors throughout. The Stars had 17 total errors in championship play, including four in the title game alone. Their season closes out with a record of 45-14.

Myriam Poirier earned the win for Simon Fraser and finished the season at 8-5. Poirer went three innings for the Clan and allowed just one unearned run on two hits. She issued four walks and fanned one batter in the effort. Poirer entered for Jennifer Van Egdom who went four innings and allowed two earned runs on eight hits with three walks and one strikeout. Lily LaVelle suffered the loss for Oklahoma City. She threw a complete-game six innings, allowing four runs, just one of which was earned, on six hits. LaVelle issued three walks and fanned five.

Simon Fraser didn't waste any time getting started in its run to the Championship and jumped on the board in the top of the first. Tournament MVP Harris led off with a single to center and advanced to second on a bunt by Chrissy Caviglia, while Caviglia was safe at first on an error by LaVelle. With no outs, Kelsey Haberl hit a grounder to Oklahoma City second baseman Katie Proffitt. Trying to turn two, Proffitt flipped the ball to second, but with no one there to cover, the ball rolled to the outfield and Harris came home as Caviglia went to third and Haberl was safe at first. Still with no outs and runners on the corners, Carly Moir grounded to short and reached on a fielder's choice while Caviglia scored and Haberl was out at second. Leah Riske then doubled to left-center to send Moir to third and Moir came home on a sac fly by Brittany Mayers. At the end of the first, the Clan had a 3-0 lead on two hits and two Stars errors.

Oklahoma City bounced back in the top of the second, beginning with a walk by Nathalie Timmermans. Ashley Wilburn grounded to short to force Timmermans out at second, and Wilburn reached first on the fielder's choice. Wilburn advanced to second on a third-to-first groundout by Laurin Hess, and then went on to third on a single by LeeAnn Lopez. With two down and runners on the corners, Jen Davis knocked one to left-center to bring home Wilburn and send Lopez to second. A single from Kendall Hobens would load the bases, but the Stars couldn't do any further damage as they left the runners stranded on a fly out by Amanda Howard. After 1 ½, the Clan held a 3-1 lead.

Again in the top of the third, Oklahoma City left the bases loaded for a second consecutive inning on after a walk from Timmermans, a single from Wilburn and a single from Hess loaded the bases for the Stars, but a fly out from Lopez would end the inning and the scoring chance for Oklahoma City.

Both teams went scoreless through the fourth frame before the Stars were able to get another run back in the top of the fifth. Timmermans led off for Oklahoma City with a single to left. After Simon Fraser made the call to the bullpen to bring in Poirer, Wilburn reached on a walk to send Timmermans to second. Hess and Lopez both reached on walks, as Timmermans came in and scored and the bases remained loaded with no outs. With an opportunity for the Stars to take the lead, a fly out from Davis, a strikeout from Hobens and a ground out from Howard would leave the bases loaded for the third time, as Oklahoma City cut the lead to one, 3-2.

Simon Fraser left three on in the bottom of the fifth to give Oklahoma City the opportunity to tie the game. With one out, LaVelle reached first on an error by Moir. With Timmermans at the plate with a 2-0 count, Clan catcher Stefani Durrant threw to first trying to pick off LaVelle, but Haberl couldn't get a handle on the throw and LaVelle advanced to second. Timmermans reached on a walk and a passed ball advanced both runners ahead one base. Shari Misuraca entered to pinch run for Timmermans. With runners on second and third and still just one out, Wilburn hit a sac fly to center and LaVelle came home to score the tying run. After a fly out from Hess, the game was deadlocked at 3-3 after 5 ½.

The game went to the bottom of the sixth when back-to-back singles from Nicola Collicutt and Harris to put runners on the corners. Harris stole second to put both runners in scoring position, and one batter later with two outs, Haberl came to the plate to set up the intentional walk situation that would bring the winning run home and give Simon Fraser the 4-3 win.

"I've coached 11 Olympians; this team doesn't have an Olympian," Renney said. "We don't have the superstar, we don't have the game breaker, the strike-out pitcher or the home-run hitter. We don't rely on the same batters to do the work for us, but, this team, of all of the teams I have coached, they are the most cohesive. They work as a team and that's why we were here."

2010 All-Tournament Team  
Sarah Burns, P Belhaven (Miss.)
Christina Jaques, SS Belhaven (Miss.)
Katie Boocher, 1B Bethel (Ind.)
Kelli Zache, P Bethel (Ind.)
Briana Corral, 2B California Baptist
Sarah Strong, 3B California Baptist
Valerie Teter, P Columbia (Mo.)
Libby Munson, P Shorter (Ga.)
Kelsey Haberl, 1B Simon Fraser (B.C.)
Jessie Harris, OF Simon Fraser (B.C.)
Carly Moir, 3B Simon Fraser (B.C.)
Lily LaVelle, P/2B Oklahoma City
Nathalie Timmermans, 3B Oklahoma City
Casey Alexander, OF William Carey (Miss.)
Judy Barber, 3B William Carey (Miss.)
Tan Montgomery, OF William Carey (Miss.)
Most Valuable Player: Jessie Harris, Simon Fraser (B.C.)