FINDLAY, Ohio – The Ohio Dominican softball team punched its ticket into the Great Midwest Softball Championship game for the first time in its history by defeating Tiffin University 5-3 on Friday afternoon.
The Black and Gold enjoyed strong performances from the duo of Carson Hackerd (Frankfort, Indiana) and Alexis Stevens (Marion, Ohio). Hackerd delivered her team-high 16th multi-hit game and Stevens was successful with the bat and flashing the leather defensively.
Hackerd got the Panthers on the scoreboard early when she doubled to left-center field to drive in three runners and give ODU a 3-0 lead. That hit marked the fifth time this season that the ODU senior has collected three or more RBIs in a game.
Classmate Raemon Meents (Downers Grove, Illinois) plated Hackerd moments later with a bloop single to second base that troubled the Dragons infield and allowed the visitors to expand the lead to 4-0.
TU cut the lead to 4-2 with a pair of RBI singles in the bottom of the third inning. Outfielder Taylor Whalen closed the gap to 4-3 with a single that found its way through the Black and Gold infield.
The Panthers searched for an insurance run and got it when Stevens delivered with another single that squeaked through the infield and plated one run.
Junior Sydney Long (Ashland, Ohio) slammed the door shut in the final inning, earning one of her five strikeouts to give the Black and Gold the win and their first appearance in the Great Midwest Softball Tournament Championship Game.
The victory sets up a championship date with Trevecca Nazarene University on Saturday morning. First pitch is scheduled for 10 AM.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Saturday's game is the first time the Panthers will battle for the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Softball Tournament Championship and is the first conference tournament appearance since 2014.
ODU last battled Wayne State University for the GLIAC Championship at Marathon Fields in May 2014.
The Black and Gold come into Saturday's contest with the advantage of coming out of the winner's bracket, meaning they need to win just one game to claim the championship, but could play as many as two games should Trevecca claim a victory on Saturday morning.
Contact: Ralph Schudel