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Greenville Softball Headed To National Tournament For First Time In Program History

Greenville Softball Headed To National Tournament For First Time In Program History

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It took over nine hours to come to fruition but Greenville College eventually outlasted Westminster College in a rain and lightning delayed day and night to win the 2016 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Softball Tournament; making the NCAA Division III national tournament for the first time in program history.

The day started at 4 p.m. with #3 seed Westminster College squaring off against #4 Greenville College. However weather quickly moved in and interrupted the game. Working around numerous weather delays the two teams played an exciting game with Greenville holding on for a 5-4 win to force the if necessary game. Greenville plated two runs in the first game of the day and added three more in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead.

But the Westminster would not go quietly as they struck back with two runs in the third inning to get on the board with RBI singles from Leah Holthaus and Amber Tepen. Westminster pitcher Alyson Hahn settled down after the first three innings, allowing just two runners over the final four frames. The Blue Jays cut into the lead further with a run in the bottom of the fifth, drawing a bases loaded walk, but left the bases loaded with the score at 5-3 in favor of Greenville.

Westmisnter threatened again in the sixth, rallying with two outs to put two runners on but again stranding them on base. A one out single by Erica Burney started things in the bottom of the seventh and Alyssa Johnson followed with a single to put the tying run on base. Hahn followed with an RBI single that made the score 5-4 but the Blue Jays had a runner thrown out trying to advance to the third which would prove costly when Caty Barrett singled in the next at bat to give them runners at second and third with two outs. But that is when Tournament MVP Brianna Anderson shut the door, striking out the final batter of the game for the Greenville win.

Game two got started around 10:15 p.m. with winner taking the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Division III national tournament. Westminster struck first with a run in the bottom of the first inning. However the Panthers answered right back with three in the second inning. A bases loaded walk tied the score at 1-1 and then with two outs the Panthers hustled their way to two more runs when a shallow fly ball fell to the ground, scoring two Panthers and giving them a 3-1 lead. Greenville extended the lead in the third on an RBI single by Cayla Speaks and tacked on another run in the fourth with an RBI single by Tiffany Samsoe.

Westminster plated a run in the bottom half of the fourth with an RBI single by Burney but again left two runners on in what would be the theme of the night for the Blue Jays. Greenville added insurance runs in the sixth and seventh, sandwiching an RBI single by Westminster's Johnson in the bottom of the sixth. Greenville's Caitie Opp, starting her only game of the tournament picked up the win while Anderson came on in relief to lock down the save for the Panthers.

This is the second time Greenville has won the SLIAC Softball Tournament and they are the first team to come through the loser's bracket to win the tournament since 2005.

Brianna Anderson was named the tournament MVP while her teammates Andrea Martin, Bryn McKie, and Laney Thacker joined her on the All-Tournament team. Westminster's Erica Burney, Alyssa Johnson, and Alyson Hahn were also named to the All-Tournament team as were Fontbonne's Emily Smith and Alleigh Kruse and Eureka's Kali George.

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