XENIA, Ohio — Despite falling 3-0 to Kentucky Wesleyan in the final game Friday at the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament, Ohio Dominican's softball team proved its resolve, battling back once again to defeat Trevecca 4-3 (9 innings) and topping Findlay 4-1 before KWC notched a 3-0 victory over ODU to advance to the conference championship.
Ohio Dominican (35-21) delivered thrilling performances all tournament long, and came from behind in its third-straight game Friday morning to defeat Trevecca. The Panthers' win over Trevecca was heart-stopping, as ODU was down to its final out for the third-straight contest at the G-MAC Tournament.
Trevecca led 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and had a 1-2 count on sophomore Taylor Farmer (Mt. Blanchard, Ohio), with freshman Carson Hackerd (Frankfort, Indiana) on second and junior Kelly Mix (Baltimore, Ohio) on first. Farmer took the pitch right up the middle, scoring Hackerd and cutting Ohio Dominican's deficit to 3-2. With Mix on second base following the single by Farmer, sophomore Cameron Barber (Powell, Ohio) hit the 3-1 pitch in the next at bat to the shortstop, with the ball going underneath the infielder's glove, allowing Mix to score on an error and tie the game at 3-3.
For the third-straight time, Ohio Dominican went into extra innings with its opponent, but held Trevecca scoreless in the top of the eighth and ninth innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Barber reached on a fielder's choice with two outs. A single to right field by freshman Kristen Bales (Pickerington, Ohio) advanced Barber to third. In the next at bat, senior Liz Sutter (Mansfield, Ohio) came up with one of the biggest hits of her career, singling up the middle to score Barber and win the game for the Panthers by a final mark of 4-3 (9 innings).
In game two, ODU scored four runs on 10 hits while holding Findlay to just one run on six hits en route to a 4-1 win. Junior Abby Lamping (Cleves, Ohio) notched her 16th win and complete game of the season, pitching all seven innings and not allowing an earned run. Senior Taylor Kline (Bellville, Ohio), Hackerd and Barber all went 2-for-3 at the plate, with Hackerd and Barber notching RBIs. Sophomore Landry Slider (Stow, Ohio) went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Sutter also tallied an RBI.
A double to left center by Barber in the top of the first scored Kline and gave Ohio Dominican a 1-0 lead. After the top of the second, the decision was made to bring out the tarp, as rain and a gusty thunderstorm blew into the area at AIA Sports Complex. The two teams waited out a nearly two hour delay on their buses and resumed play at 6:20 p.m.
Findlay scored a run in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 1-1, but ODU scored a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to take a 4-1 lead. An RBI single to left by Hackerd in the fifth scored freshman Aubrey Rolon (Hilliard, Ohio) and made it 2-1 Panthers. Then in the sixth, Sutter's groundout scored Barber, and a single up the middle in the next at bat by Slider allowed Bales to cross the plate and make it 4-1 ODU. Lamping continued her strong work in the circle, earning the win and allowing Ohio Dominican to advance.
But ODU ran out of gas in its third game of the day, as Kentucky Wesleyan earned a 3-0 victory and advanced to the conference final. KWC held ODU's offense in check at just two hits, with Kline and sophomore Brooklyn Rayburn (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) each recording hits for Ohio Dominican.
It was an emotional season for ODU, which went on an NCAA Division II-long 19-game win streak between March 31 and April 22, and sees a fantastic group of seniors depart. Kline and Sutter were spectacular in their time wearing the black and gold. Kline finishes her career batting .415 with a program-record 145 stolen bases, tallying 289 hits as a Panther. Sutter, her counter-part in the middle infield, recorded 157 hits and had a career-season at the plate, batting .367 with 16 RBIs.
Seniors Bailey Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Jordan Nichols (Peotone, Illinois) also made strong contributions to the program. Miller pitched in 64 games and 197 innings at ODU. Nichols played in 66 games in her two seasons at Ohio Dominican, tallying 17 hits. Overall, the class combined to make 526 appearances for Ohio Dominican.
Contact: Aaron McPherson