By Tim Glon
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Case Western Reserve won the NCAA III Softball Notre Dame, Indiana Regional Tournament with 5-0 and 5-1 victories over Ohio Northern on Sunday afternoon at the Purcell Athletic Fields.
The Spartans (35-9 overall) advance to the Super Regional round to face either Calvin (Mich.) or No. 17-ranked Hope (Mich.) in a best-of-3 series next weekend.
The Polar Bears end their season at 32-11.
"I'm so proud of what this team accomplished this season," ONU head coach Jackie Price said. "It was great to get the program back into the NCAA Tournament and hopefully we can build from here."
The two games began similarly, with Case scoring three times in the first inning and adding another run in the second to take quick 4-0 leads.
In Game 7, ONU had runners in scoring position in five of its first six innings, but were 0-for-5 at the plate in those opportunities.
Northern got on the board in the fourth when senior Miranda Huddle (Versailles) scored from first base on a single sophomore Mallory Taylor (Olmsted Falls) and an error by the CWRU center fielder to make it 4-1.
CWRU got another run in the fourth to go up 5-1.
The Polar Bears loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but sophomore Gabby Stewart (Union, Ky./St. Henry) lined into a double play, hitting a shot right at the second baseman, to end the game.
Case came from the loser's bracket to force a Game 7 with a 5-0 victory in the first game of the afternoon.
In that first game, the Spartans also scored a run in the fourth to increase their lead to 5-0.
ONU threatened in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with two out, but could not get a run across.
"It just wasn't our day today," Price said. "In the first game, Case had a few bloopers and had a big first inning and we couldn't battle back. In the second game, we hit the ball hard and had several chances, but it seemed like we kept hitting it right at people. I'm proud of the way we kept playing hard and had a chance in the seventh. But again, we hit a line drive right at second. It's just the way it went today."
This was Ohio Northern's ninth NCAA III Tournament appearance and its first since reaching the World Series in 2012.