Columbia Wins AMC Championship; WBC Claims AMC's Second Automatic Bid to Opening Round
Softball - Fri, May 5, 2017
ST. LOUIS - The American Midwest Conference Softball Championship wrapped up on Friday afternoon at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, and for the 13th time in program history, the Columbia College Cougars claimed a conference Championship. The Cougars (43-5) outlasted the Williams Baptist College Lady Eagles (33-11) 6-0 in the Championship game, and both teams claimed automatic berths to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, which will begin on May 15.
Williams Baptist (32-10) def. Park University (22-18) 4-0 - Park Eliminated
Williams Baptist (33-10) def. Freed-Hardeman (24-11) 1-0 - Freed-Hardeman Eliminated
HENDERSON, Tenn. - The Williams Baptist College Lady Eagles had a long day on the diamond on Friday, playing three games in a row in an attempt to win their second straight American Midwest Conference Softball Championship. The day started well for the Lady Eagles, as they defeated the Park Pirates in their first game, and they eliminated the host Freed-Hardeman University Lions in the loser's bracket final to clinch the Lady Eagles their second straight trip to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round.
Neither team recorded a hit in the first game of the day until the Pirates got a 2-out double off the bat of Katie Carr in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Laura Helmich pitched around the hit, and the game remained scoreless. After the Lady Eagles stranded Jessica Dobbins at third in the top of the fifth, Park again threatened to score in the bottom of the inning. Park loaded the bases with two outs in the inning, forcing the Lady Eagles to go to the bullpen for Cat Totty, who extinguished the fire and set the stage for her offense to take over.
Williams Baptist scored four runs on just three hits in the top of the sixth frame, with a two-RBI double from Karoline Thomas highlighting the action. Brooke Mason and Ashley Lyons also had RBIs in the inning, and that proved to be more than enough for Totty.
Park managed a pair of 2-out singles in the sixth, but Totty (4-0) retired the last four hitters she faced, preserving the 4-0 win. Totty threw two and one-third innings, allowing two hits and striking out one in the win. The loss went to Scotlin Hurley (12-7) who gave up four runs - all unearned - in five and one-third innings.
Helmich was 2-for-4, and Thomas was 1-for-3 with the double and two RBIs.
The win meant Lady Eagles met up with the host Freed-Hardeman Lady Lions in the game that carried with it the biggest post-season implications. The winner of the game would advance to face Columbia in the Championship game, and because Columbia was also the AMC regular season champion, the winner also would receive the AMC's second automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round.
The game was a losely fought affair throughout, as both teams had chances to score, but neither was able to capitalize. The Lady Lions managed to chase WBC starter Helmich from the circle in the top of the sixth, but again Totty came in and escaped the jam. She stranded runners at second and third, and the game went to the seventh scoreless.
The Lady Eagles got a leadoff single from Molleigh Gray to start the bottom of the seventh, and with two outs in the frame, they had Alex Travis at third base and Jaye Chalk at the plate. Chalk faced a 2-1 count when Makenzie Prince uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Travis to score the games only run and sending the Lady Eagles to their second straight NAIA Opening Round berth.
Totty (5-0) earned her second win in relief on the day, tossing two hitless innings of relief. Prince (10-5) took the tough luck loss, allowing an unearned run on five hits and five strikeouts in the game.Gray was 2-for-3 in the game, Madelyn Poe was 1-for-2, Brooke Mason was 1-for-3, and Thomas was 1-for-3 as well.
Columbia (43-5) def. Williams Baptist (33-11) 6-0 - Williams Baptist Eliminated
Courtesy Columbia College Sports Information
Henderson, Tenn. – The third ranked Columbia College softball team was back in action on Friday afternoon when they took on 24th ranked Williams Baptist (Ark.) College in the AMC Softball Championship final at Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University. The Cougars, who came into this game unbeaten in the double elimination tournament, were able to defeat the Eagles by a final score of 6-0. With the win, Columbia College improves to 43-5 on the season and have won both the AMC regular season and tournament titles. This marks the 13th time the softball team has won their conference tournament since the program was established in 1984.
The Cougars got off to a great start in the first inning of the game as Theresa DeCosty was able to get on base with a single and then later came around to score on a RBI base hit from Allyson Metz to give Columbia an early 1-0 lead. They continued to put the ball in play over the next few innings and were able to add two runs to their lead in the bottom of the third to take a 3-0 lead into the fourth.
Williams Baptist struggled to get anything going through the first few innings but were able to load the bases with nobody out in the top of the fifth inning. However, the Cougars were able to get out of the inning with an incredible triple play to keep the Eagles scoreless in the game. Columbia College added three more runs to their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning and closed out the Eagles down the stretch to clinch the AMC Softball Championship title.
Paxton Welch (19-4) was the starting pitcher in the game as she struck out three batters while allowing just two hits in her seventh complete game shutout of the season. Offensively, Columbia College was led by Theresa DeCosty who went 4-4 with two RBI's and Rachel Sullivan who went 2-3 with a run scored. In addition, Carly Spalding picked up her 53rd steal of the season and sits just one behind the Columbia College softball record of 54.
The Cougars have solidified a spot in the NAIA National Tournament and will host the opening round games at Antimi Softball Complex from May 15th-17th. Columbia College will find out who is in their four team pool on Wednesday, May 10th at 6 p.m.
Both Columbia and Williams Baptist move on to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. Columbia is one of the 10 host sites, while Williams Baptist will have to wait to see where they will go. The Selection Show will be streamed live on the NAIA website at www.naia.org on May 10th at 6 p.m. For a complete recap of the AMC Championship, visit the Championship's official home page here.