ANGOLA, Ind.-- The Trine softball team clinched a share of a fifth-straight MIAA Championship with a 4-2 victory over Saint Mary's Monday evening at SportONE/Parkview Softball Field.
The Thunder had to wait two days and work through a game site change to finish a suspended game to clinch its share of the title, but Trine was able to close out the final two-and-a-half innings of its fifth-straight title at home. The Thunder concluded the conference season 12-2 in MIAA play and 27-10 overall. Trine tied for the conference title with Alma. The Thunder own a 76-4 conference record over the span of its five-title run.
Bre Cooper (Beech Grove, Ind. / Beech Grove) remained undefeated in the circle in tossing 6.1 innings to earn the victory. The senior improved to 7-0 on the season and still has not lost a decision in her career. She scattered eight hits, allowed two earned runs, walked one and struck out one.
The Belles scored first with a single run in the top of the fourth. Three straight singles to start the inning, capped by a Cassie Young RBI-single made the score 1-0. SMC made a bid for a second run, but Emily White (Fortville, Ind. / Mount Vernon) threw out a runner trying to score from third on a fly ball to keep the score that way.
The Thunder answered with three in the bottom half of the inning. Catherine Porter (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Canton) singled home the first run to tie the score. A bunt single by Erica Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) brought home another run to give Trine the lead. Alison Lang's (Rome City, Ind. / East Noble) RBI-groundout scored the final run of the frame.
A solo homer by Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) extended the score to 4-1 in the fifth. The homer was 23rd of Fox's career, moving her into sixth on Trine's all-time career list. Fox finished the season as the MIAA's leader in homers in conference play with six. The sophomore also led the league in slugging percentage.
The Belles pushed across a run in the sixth with a two-out rally. Jillian Busfield cut the score to 4-2 with an RBI-single.
Justine Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) entered with two on and one out in the seventh to strike out the final two batters to earn the save. Robles became the school's all-time leader with eight career saves. She is five strikeouts from becoming the fourth pitcher in team history with 400 career strikeouts.
Kendra Marshall (Leesburg, Ind. / Warsaw) concluded the conference season as the MIAA's leader in RBIs in league play with 19.
Trine enters the MIAA Tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Thunder will travel to Alma College to take on No. 3 seed Hope in the first round of the tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Trine has won the last three MIAA postseason tournaments. The winner of the tournament receives an automatic-qualifying bid to the NCAA Regionals. The Thunder have made eight straight appearances in the NCAA postseason.