Downs Goes Yard As Softball Extends Stay In Grand Rapids

Braxton Downs (Photo by: Ralph Schudel)
Braxton Downs (Photo by: Ralph Schudel)

ALLENDALE, Michigan – Ohio Dominican softball continued its postseason journey in the NCAA Regional Tournament on Thursday afternoon playing in two contests at Grand Valley State University. The Black and Gold battled the two-seed and seventh-ranked University of Indianapolis in a rematch of their April 28 contest in which ODU claimed a 4-3 victory back in Columbus.

ODU mustered just one hit and couldn't claim victory against the Greyhounds as they fell by the score of 17-0 in game one, setting up a rematch of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Softball Championship against Trevecca Nazarene University in the second game of the afternoon.

The Panthers strung together six hits in game two and got their offense started in the first inning when Carson Hackerd (Frankfort, Indiana) singled up the middle to become the first Black and Gold baserunner of the day. ODU returned to the basepaths when Erika Case (Holland, Ohio) singled to left field but would be stranded on base as the following batter grounded out.

Sophomore Madison Shemwell (Owensboro, Kentucky) got on board in the bottom of the third inning as Trevecca pitcher Alex Behnke issued her only free pass of the day. However, the walk would prove costly. A double off the bat of classmate Braxton Downs (Louisville, Kentucky) drove in Shemwell to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

Downs wasn't finished as she struck again in the bottom of the sixth inning. The second-year player drove a ball over the left-field fence to double the lead to 2-0 and chase Behnke from the game.

She and teammate Raemon Meents (Downers Grove, Illinois) spoke with Sports Information Director Ralph Schudel following the game. 

Not only did the Panthers thrive in the batter's box, but also enjoyed another great pitching performance from junior Sydney Long (Ashland, Ohio) in the circle. The third-year hurler struck out three batters in seven innings of work to earn her 19th complete game of the season. Long also enjoyed a period of play between the second and fifth innings when she retired nine Trojan batters in a row.

Her pitching performance helped the Black and Gold capture its first shutout win in the NCAA Tournament.

UP NEXT

As a result of falling to the University of Indianapolis earlier in the day, ODU has fallen into the loser's bracket and is in a win or go home scenario.

The Panthers will look to extend their stay in Grand Rapids when they battle another familiar G-MAC foe in Hillsdale College. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 PM.

Should the Black and Gold secure a victory in that contest, the Panthers await the loser of the morning contest between one-seed Grand Valley State University and two-seed University of Indianapolis.

Contact: Ralph Schudel
schudelr@ohiodominican.edu