GULF SHORES, Ala. – (FINAL BRACKET) Jackie Imhof made a first-inning run hold up as Oregon Tech (42-13) blanked California Baptist (66-5) 1-0 to win the 2011 NAIA Softball National Championship Wednesday at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex.
The Cal Baptist Lancers won Wednesday’s first championship game 7-0 to force the decisive game after coming out of the loser’s bracket, but Imhof (25-6) was on her game in the finale.
“It was definitely just a dream come true,” Oregon Tech Head Coach Greg Stewart said. “To beat the No. 1 team in the country twice by 1-0 scores, you couldn’t have scripted it in any better fashion.”
The Owls defeated Cal Baptist 1-0 Tuesday to advance to the National Championship round.
Imhof struck out seven batters and walked none while twirling a four-hit, complete-game shutout. Tory Ferreira was tagged with the loss after giving up one earned run on three hits in 3.1 innings of action.
After a 6-4 double play erased a one-out Cal Baptist single in the top of the first, the Owls turned a pair of singles into the game-winning run in the bottom half of the frame. Shauna Collins started the inning with a single, and moved to second two batters later on a ground out to set the stage for Jess Plummer’s two-out at-bat. The sophomore infielder came through with a two-out RBI-single up the middle.
The closest Imhof would come to surrendering a run came in the second and fifth innings. In the second, the Lancers recorded back-to-back two-out singles before Imhof escaped trouble with a big strikeout. An error kept the fifth inning alive and put two Lancer runners on with two outs, but Imhof again delivered a strikeout pitch to end the frame.
She retired the final seven hitters she faced to cap a standout performance after she allowed three earned on eight hits in 4.2 innings of work in the game one loss.
“It shows the resiliency and natural toughness our kids have,” Stewart said. “In the first game we made some mistakes and weren’t able to get the momentum back against Emma Holden. For them to regroup and for Imhof to come back and pitch like that, I just couldn’t say enough. I’m just blessed to have been able to coach this group of kids.”
For her efforts in the tournament, Imhof was named the 2011 NAIA Softball National Championship Most Valuable Player. In the 2011 tournament, the senior tossed 47.1 innings with a 0.59 ERA and a 6-1 record.
Mara Rodriguez led Cal Baptist with a 2-for-3 performance at the dish, while Briana Corral finished 1-for-3 at the plate. Collins finished 1-for-2 with one run scored for the Owls, while Plummer finished 1-for-3 with one RBI.
2011 NAIA Softball National Championship All-Tournament Team
Kim Frazier 1B Lubbock Christian (Texas)
Libby Munson P Shorter (Ga.)
Sarah Burns P Belhaven (Miss.)
Christina Jaques SS Belhaven (Miss.)
Anna Ard P William Carey (Miss.)
Judy Barber 3B William Carey (Miss.)
Tori Joyner SS Oklahoma City
Lily LaVelle P Oklahoma City
Brenna Sandberg P Cal State-San Marcos
Alyssa Dronenburg 1B Cal State-San Marcos
Emma Holden P Cal Baptist
Kayde Schaefer C Oregon Tech
Sloan McHann 1B Cal Baptist
Jackie Imhof P Oregon Tech
Nicole Shoemaker C Cal Baptist
Shauna Collins SS Oregon Tech
Most Valuable Player: Jackie Imhof, Oregon Tech