By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
Pictures courtesy of www.NAIAPictures.com
COLUMBUS, Ga. – (Box Score) Katie Cotta rebounded from her roughest outing to pitch her 16th season shutout and lift top seeded Concordia (Calif.) to an 8-0, six inning run-rule victory over No. 4 Oklahoma City at the 2013 NAIA Softball National Championship final site at the South Commons Softball Complex on Monday. In the 7-6 win Saturday against Reinhardt (Ga.), Cotta allowed her first earned runs since March 30.
“My rise (ball) and changeup were working today,” said Cotta. “My team came out and hit the ball and had my back. It was really nice to come out and be the team that we are used to being back at home.”
Concordia remains in the winner’s bracket and is scheduled to play the winner of No. 6 Williams Baptist (Ark.) and No. 10 Spring Hill (Ala.) Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT. Oklahoma City next takes on Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) foe No. 2 Lubbock Christian (Texas) Tuesday at 1 p.m. in the loser’s bracket. The two teams finished one-and-two with the Lady Chaps winning both the SAC regular season and tournament championships.
Concordia’s Hannah Howell smacked her eighth homer of the year to lead off the third inning. Caitrin Debaun then singled to left, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and came around to score on an RBI-single by Jenna Jorgenson. After three innings, the Eagles led 2-0.
The Eagles put the game out of reach in the fifth inning. With one out and the bases loaded, Emily Craig reached on a hit-by-pitch, which forced home Chanele Dresser. On the next pitch, Annette Merjano (pictured top left) took a 0-0 offering from Oklahoma City pitcher Danielle Fox and hit her first career grand slam. At that point, the lead was too much for Oklahoma City to overcome against one of the best pitchers in the NAIA.
Cotta, who moves to 25-2 on the year, struck out seven Stars, walked one and allowed just two hits. After giving up a lead-off single, Cotta retired 13-straight batters to take control. This game got the 2012 NAIA All-American back on track. She had gone 10-straight appearances (55.0 innings) without allowing an earned run before the outing Saturday. Today, she was in attack mode and held the NAIA’s No. 1 hitting team, in terms of total runs, off the scoreboard.
“I stuck to my game plan,” said Cotta. “I had to win every pitch and if I took a pitch off, then I would be in the same situation last game and that was unacceptable.”
With one out and a runner on third, Jorgenson picked up her second RBI of the game to push the score to 8-0 in the sixth inning.
Jorgenson went 2-for-2 and Debaun was 2-for-4 to lead the nine-hit Concordia attack.
Jamie Rateliff, who started in the circle for the Stars, was hit with the loss to fall to 23-5 on the year. She went 2.1 innings and gave up two runs on three hits.
The championship is a 10-team, double-elimination event hosted by the Columbus Sports Council. This is the 33rd annual championship and takes place in the state of Georgia for the first time in NAIA softball history.
For more information on the national championship, click here.