HOLLAND, Mich. -- The Trine softball team defeated Saint Mary's in an elimination game, but fell to Alma in the MIAA Softball Tournament Championship round Friday afternoon at Hope College.
The Thunder opened the day with an 8-1 victory over the Belles, using a 12-hit performance to earn the right to play for the championship. The Scots thwarted Trine's championship bid with five extra-base hits, including two homers, to earn the 10-2 victory by run rule in six innings to claim the MIAA's automatic bid. Trine concluded the regular season 32-8. The Thunder await a selection to the NCAA Regionals.
Game One: Trine 8, Saint Mary's 1
Two big innings and the pitching of Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) led the Thunder back into the championship round.
The Belles struck first in the top of the second. Kelsey Richards scored Makenzie Duncan from third with an infield ground ball for the lone SMC run. Richards had two hits in the game for the Belles.
Trine took the lead with a three-run third. Ryan's RBI-single scored Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) to tie the score. The Thunder proceeded to load the bases. Back-to-back patient at-bats by Catherine Porter (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Canton) and Kristy Rawlings (Lizton, Ind. / Tri-West Hendricks) resulted in two walks to score runs and make the score 3-1.
A five-run fifth accounted for the rest of the scoring. Porter executed the squeeze play to perfection to score the first run of the inning, as pinch-runner Erica Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) raced home to make the score 4-1. Rawlings added an RBI-single before a two-run single by McCue broke the game open further. McCue scored on a passed ball for the final run of the inning.
Porter, Rawlings and McCue provided a productive day in the lower half of the Trine order. Each player knocked in two runs. Emily White (Fortville, Ind. / Mount Vernon) tripled as part of a two-hit effort, while Carly Bachna (Elyria, Ohio / Elyria) led the way with three hits and several highlight-reel plays defensively.
Ray earned the victory with the complete-game effort in the circle. She allowed an earned run on six hits, walked two and struck out two. She improved to 16-3 on the season.
MIAA Championship: Alma 10, Trine 2
The Scots took the lead early and pulled away late to earn their second consecutive tournament title.
McKenzie Creed opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. Danielle Service followed immediately to give Alma back-to-back homers and a three-run lead. Katie McClure added a RBI-double to cap a four-run first.
The Thunder chipped away at the Scots' lead over the next two innings. Bachna went opposite field for a home run to right-center for Trine's first run in the top of the second. The homer was the freshman's 10th of the season. The Thunder later added another run on a RBI-double down the line by Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) in the third. Fox's The hit gave Fox the 137th RBI of her career, tied with Leah Hall (2012-15) for fourth in team history.
The Scots tacked on three more in the fourth. Erin Lee started the scoring with a RBI-double. Anna Couture followed with a two-run double to make the score 7-2.
Alma closed out the win with three in the bottom of the sixth. Creed came through with a big hit once again with a two-run single. Creed had three hits and knocked in four runs in the game. Service added the game-sealing RBI-single for the final margin.
Morgan Stratton earned the victory for the Scots with the complete game effort. The senior allowed two earned runs on five hits, walked three and struck out eight. She owns a 19-4 record this year.
Trine awaits its selection to the NCAA Regionals. The Thunder will find out its postseason destination and opponent Monday at 1 p.m. Fans can follow THIS LINK to watch the selection show. Trine was ranked No. 1 in the Central Region in the latest NCAA rankings.