GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Despite a slightly sluggish start to
the morning, the No. 4 Olivet Nazarene University softball team exploded into
the championship game of the NAIA Opening Round - Davenport Bracket with a huge
15-2, five-inning win over the host Panthers on Tuesday, May 13. The Tigers
managed just one base runner through the opening two innings, but produced 12
in the final three innings, including three home runs and four doubles.
The 1-2 batting combo of senior Justine Phillips (Metamora,
Ill.) and junior Jordy Truelock (Princeton, (Ind.) went a matching 3-for-4 at
the plate with three runs scored each. Truelock’s day included a double and a
homerun to produce a team-leading six RBIs.
Juniors Erika Tatum (Bourbonnais, Ill.) and Megan Butler
(Frankfort, Ill.) each added home runs on the day, Butler’s first of the season.
Tatum also added a double and finished with five RBIs.
Olivet’s biggest inning came in the top of the fifth where
the Tigers put the game out of reach, plating eight runs while batting around
the lineup. Senior Cheryl Sendzik (Mokena, Ill.) led things off with a walk and
scored on Butler’s home run over the left field fence. Freshman Megan Semro then
reached on a walk and advanced to third on sophomore Lindsey Krippel’s
(Fairbury, Ill.) doubled to left. Phillips then reached first on the fielder's
choice, scoring Semro and advancing Krippel to third. Truelock doubled to deep
left-center, to score both Krippel and Phillips. Tatum took a 2-1 pitch over
the centerfield wall to score Truelock. Back at the beginning, Sendzik was then
hit by pitch. Megyesi followed that with a walk before Butler picked up her
second hit of the inning, a single to shallow right-center to score Sendzik.
Senior Caitlin Santefort (Mokena, Ill.) picked up with win
in the circle for the Tigers, allowing just six hits and two runs, both
unearned. She struck out five Panthers and allowed no free passes.
The Tigers will play tomorrow at noon, local time in the
championship game. The winner of the Davenport Bracket will advance to the NAIA
World Series in Columbus, Georgia. Olivet will sit and wait to see who the will
face. Huntington University (Ind.) is taking on William Woods University
(Iowa), the winner will face Davenport at 5:00 today with the winner of that
game taking on the Tigers. Should Olivet lose at noon tomorrow, there will be
an “if necessary” game to follow.