FINDLAY, Ohio – The Ohio Dominican softball team began their postseason run on Thursday afternoon in the 2021 Great Midwest Athletic Conference softball tournament hosted by the University of Findlay.
ODU began their tournament meeting up against the third seed Malone University in their opening-round contest.
Both teams combined for just six hits and no runs heading into the fourth inning. The Black and Gold struck first on the scoreboard as Kristen Bales (Pickerington, Ohio) singled to left field to open the inning. She stole second base to move into scoring position. Freshman Allison Madden (Cincinnati, Ohio) drove Bales in with an RBI single to center field to give the Panthers the 1-0 lead.
The lead grew to 2-0 on the strength of an RBI double from Madison Shemwell (Owensboro, Ohio) that found its way down the right-field line. Malone responded with a run of its own, as an RBI single from April Howser closed the gap to 2-1.
Neither team would send a runner across the plate until the seventh inning with the Black and Gold striking in the top half of the inning. Baylee Adams (Cardington, Ohio) doubled down the right-field line to drive in Keirah Smetzer (Ashland, Ohio) to grow the lead to 3-1. Freshman Alexis Stevens (Marion, Ohio) followed with a bloop single to right field to grow the lead to 4-1 heading into the final half-inning.
The Pioneers struck for three unanswered runs to tie the game at 4-4 and force extra innings.
Neither team would score a run in the eighth inning, but sophomore Braxton Downs (Prospect, Kentucky) struck for a solo home run with two outs in the inning to give ODU the 5-4 lead and momentum heading into the bottom of the 9th inning.
Junior Sydney Long (Ashland, Ohio) retired the first two batters in the bottom of the inning. She collected the final out of the game as she forced Erica Johnson to ground out at first base to end the game and send the Panthers into a second-round matchup against the seventh-seeded Ursuline College.
ODU exploded out of the gates striking for five runs against the Arrows in the bottom of the first inning. Adams tallied two of her three RBIs in game two when she singled through the right side to plate two runners. Bales added a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Adams later in the inning.
The Black and Gold added five more runs in the bottom of the second on six hits. Senior Raemon Meents (Downers Grove, Illinois) doubled to left field to drive in Carson Hackerd (Frankfort, Indiana) to get the inning started.
Adams added the second sacrifice fly of the day, driving a ball to left field that brought Meents around to score. ODU finished the second inning with a 10-0 advantage.
Ursuline added a run in the top of the fourth inning as Sara Fessler plated a runner on a sacrifice fly to trim the lead to 10-1.
ODU tallied two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and claimed a 13-1 victory. The win punches the Panthers' ticket to a Friday appearance in the G-MAC tournament for the first time since 2018.
The Black and Gold will play either Cedarville University or Tiffin University on Friday afternoon at 12:30 PM.
Contact: Ralph Schudel