Steepe, Blewett lift No. 25 Softball into NCAA III Regional Tournament finals with 4-1 victory over Alma
By Tim Glon
| Tournament Site |
ALMA, Mich. -- Sophomore Danie Steepe threw a 3-hitter and senior All-American Kimi Blewett drove in two runs as No. 25 Ohio Northern eliminated Alma (Mich.) 4-1 in the loser's bracket finals of the NCAA III Regionals Sunday afternoon at Scots Field.
The second-seeded Polar Bears improve to 29-12, while the third-seeded tournament host Scots end their season at 31-14.
Ohio Northern advances to the championship game Sunday at 2:30 pm against top-seeded and No. 16-ranked Trine (Ind.).
ONU must defeat Trine twice to win the title, while the Thunder needs just one victory to claim the crown and advance to the NCAA Division III World Series next weekend at Salem, Va.
Steepe (5-1) allowed only three hits and struck out seven in the complete game victory.
In three appearances in the NCAA III Tournament this week, Steepe is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, allowing just two unearned runs and striking out 17 in 18.0 innings of work.
Blewett and freshman Kelly Sheridan each had two hits to lead Northern's 7-hit attack.
The Polar Bears got on the board in the top of the third on a 2-run double by Blewett.
Sophomore Christin Miller led off the inning with a single and Sheridan followed with a single of her own.
Blewett then followed with a double and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior All-American Jackie Mangola.
Northern struck again in the top of the fourth when Ashley Sujkowski reached on a Scot error to lead off the inning. She went to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on an infield single by sophomore Coleen Baliga and scored on a wild pitch to give the Polar Bears a 3-0 lead.
Blewett led off the fifth frame with a sharp single to right center and sophomore pinch-runner Carly McKenzie scored an a single by senior Cassie Gaye and a fielding error by the Scots' left fielder to make it a 4-0 contest.
The Scots got an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out dropped pop fly and the Polar Bear lead was trimmed to 4-1.
But Steepe piched out of threats in the sixth and seventh innings to record the victory,