@MUCrusadersSB’s Tourney Run Falls Short of WHAC Title
Softball - Tue, May 9, 2017
News Photo
Final - Softball1234567RHE
Davenport (42-7)00310239151
Madonna University (30-13)0000120373
Sylvania, Ohio Pacesetter Park
DavenportPitchingMadonna University
-Loser Combs,Erin
DavenportIndv. StatsMadonna University
3 PlayersDoubles None
NoneTriples None
NoneHome Runs None
Final - Softball12345678RHE
Madonna University (30-14)20000000272
Davenport (43-7)00200001372
Sylvania, Ohio Pacesetter Park
Madonna UniversityPitchingDavenport
-Winner Maves,E
Madonna UniversityIndv. StatsDavenport
NoneDoubles #33 Allen,B
NoneTriples None
NoneHome Runs None

SYLVANIA, Ohio – It took 15 innings, three hours and 51 minutes to determine a Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament Champion on Tuesday at Pacesetter Park as the Madonna University softball team fell shy of the tournament title with a pair of losses to eighth-ranked Davenport University.

The Panthers took game one 9-3 before scoring a run on back-to-back doubles in the eighth inning of game two for a 3-2 Crusaders loss.

"Of course you want to win the tournament, but the most important thing for us was earning the bid (to the NAIA Opening Round)," said Crusaders' Head Coach Jerry Abraham. "We took them to the eighth inning and it was a one run game. The ball bounces one way or the other and we are the ones holding the trophy. We have to put this behind us and work towards the ultimate goal; winning a national title."

Madonna earned the automatic bid into the NAIA Opening Round with a 4-1 win over Davenport and a Davenport victory over University of Michigan – Dearborn on Monday. The Crusaders will find out their next stop on the road to Clermont, Florida, the location for the 2017 NAIA Softball World Series, on Wednesday, May 10 at 7 p.m.

The Panthers, playing as the visitors in game one, struck first in the third. Back-to-back doubles plated the first run and a single, stolen base and an error led to the second with the third tally coming on a sacrifice fly.

The second of three Crusader errors came in the fourth inning and led to an unearned run and a 4-0 deficit.

Morgan Kaiser (SR/Flat Rock, Mich.) helped the Crusaders get on the board in the fifth as she singled with one out, Mikey Kish (SR/Allen Park, Mich.) walked and Nicky Salloum (SR/Livonia, Mich.) reached on a fielder's choice, with a poor throw from the shortstop getting past the first basemen and allowing Kaiser to score.

In the sixth, Davenport added two more unearned runs as a leadoff error and a bunt single put two on and a pair of two-out singles made it 6-1 DU.

The Blue and Gold had their best shot at a comeback against Davenport freshman Mallory Teunissen in the bottom of the frame as Breanna Keethler (SR/Flat Rock, Mich.) walked to start a two-out rally. Three consecutive singles from Kerstyn Comerzan (SO/Woodhaven, Mich.), Bria DeBono (SR/Lapeer, Mich.) and Kaiser brought in a run before Kish was hit by a pitch to make it 6-3. A groundout then ended the inning and the rally.

Four consecutive singles and a double play plated three Panther runs in the seventh to account for the 9-3 win.

Erin Combs (SR/Imlay City, Mich.) took the loss as she allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits in 3.1 innings with two strikeouts. Paige Montague (JR/Clio, Mich.) pitched well in her 3.2 innings of relief as she allowed five runs, three earned, on nine hits.

The seven-hit attack on offense was led by Kaiser who was 2-for-2 with a run and an RBI while Kish drove in the other run and went 1-for-1 with a walk and a hit by pitch.

In the second WHAC Championship game, the Crusaders had Davenport senior Emily Maves on the ropes in the first, but the Panthers starter settled in and some good defensive plays by the game two home team led to the Madonna loss.

Kaiser continued her hot hitting as she led off the game with a single, Bri Giordano (SR/Plymouth, Mich.) drew a six-pitch, two-out walk and Julia Cavagnini (JR/Livonia, Mich.) reached on a dropped fly in the infield which scored a run. Kayla Rebain (SR/Plymouth, Mich.) singled to right center for a 2-0 lead and Madonna had second and third, but a fly out ended the threat.

A Comerzan leadoff walk began the second inning. Becky Giacobbi (SO/Livonia, Mich.) followed with a sacrifice bunt and back-to-back singles from Kaiser and Kish loaded the bases with one out, but a fly out and strikeout left three more runners on base.

Madonna had another scoring chance in the third as Cavagnini was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and was sent home on a single to left field with two outs off the bat of Comerzan, but was called out at home on a bang-bang play at the plate.

The momentum swing and a couple Madonna miscues allowed DU to tie the score in the bottom half. The first two batters reached, but Crusaders' starter Madisen Henry (FR/Swartz Creek, Mich.) induced a popup bunt and a groundball to third, but a missed tag on the runner and a late throw to first loaded the bases with one out. Henry struck out Alexa Flores on the eighth pitch of the at-bat for the second out, but a first pitch single to the next batter tied the score.

Combs came on in relief of Henry to get the final out of the third then allowed just three base runners over the next four innings.

Neither offense got a runner in scoring position until the eighth when Madonna got a one out single from Rebain and a Keethler walk. A double play ended the inning and set the stage for the Panthers walk-off in the bottom of the inning as back-to-back two-out doubles ended the game.

Henry allowed two runs on three hits in 2.2 innings with three walks and two strikeouts while Combs allowed one run on four hits in five innings with two strikeouts in the loss.

Madonna again tallied seven hits with Kaiser collecting three in a 3-for-4 effort with a run scored while Rebain had a pair and drove in a run.

The Crusaders stranded nine runners on base in the game with seven being in scoring position.

The Blue and Gold will enter the NAIA Opening Round with a 30-14 record and will find out their opening round destination on Wednesday when the NAIA announces the qualifiers and pairings in the selection show at 7 p.m. which can be seen at naia.org.

There are 10 opening round sites with games taking place at campus locations across the country May 15-17 with the winners of each site meeting in Clermont, Florida at Legends Way Ball Fields for the NAIA Softball World Series May 26-June 1.

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Record: 0-0 Home: 0-0 Away: 0-0 WHAC: 0-0