AUM a win away from its second-straight softball title
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Second seed Auburn Montgomery softball team will play for its second straight NAIA National Championship later this week, after it defeated No. 9 seed Concordia (Ore.) 9-0 in five innings late Tuesday evening at the Jensen Softball Complex.
With the win, the Warhawks improved to 45-8 on the season and will now await the winner of the loser’s bracket to determine their opponent. Thursday’s championship game will be played at 5 p.m., with the if-necessary game to follow at approximately 8 p.m. AUM’s opponent will be determined Wednesday and will be either No. 3 seed Lindsey Wilson, No. 7 seed Oregon Tech or the No. 9 seed Cavaliers.
Katie Spain keyed the offense with a pair of hits and three runs batted in, while Jade Sasser and Kayla Hale hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning. Amie Kelly, Jennifer Jenkins and Katie Brinkman also drove in runs for the Warhawks.
The runs support was plenty for AUM hurler Cassie Jones, who tossed her 16th shutout of the year, while allowing just one hit. Jones struck out nine, snapping a streak of eight consecutive games with 10 or more strikeouts, and improved to 34-4 on the year. Jones is now seven punch outs shy of 400 on the year.
AUM took the lead for good in the top of the third inning, when Spain plated Alexia Boggess with an infield single. Boggess led off the inning by working a walk, before Kelly moved her to second with a sacrifice. Following a two-out walk to Laci Driggers, Spain ripped a ball back up the middle and off the glove of Cavaliers’ starter Tori Muir (4-4), allowing Boggess to score the first run of the game.
The Warhawks extended their lead with three runs in the fourth inning, putting together five hits to up its lead to 4-0. Hale and Hayden Henderson each collected one-out singles, before Boggess advanced each runner into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Pinch hitter Jennifer Jenkins followed with an infield single, plating pinch runner Therese Byrne and putting runners on the corners for AUM. The Warhawks added a run when Henderson and Jenkins executed a double steal, while Brinkman capped the scoring with a single to right field, scoring Jenkins.
AUM put the game out of reach in the fifth inning scoring five times, highlighted by the back-to-back homers by Sasser and Hale. Kelly also picked up a RBI on a fielder’s choice, while Spain drove in the final two runs of the game with a two-out single.
The Cavaliers picked up their lone hit of the contest in the second inning, when Taylor Copher singled to shortstop. Muir took the loss, allowing just one run in three innings of work.