ANGOLA, Ind. - The Calvin softball team captured its first MIAA Tournament title since 1997, posting a 3-0 record at the MIAA Tournament this weekend at Trine University. Calvin opened the tournament with an 8-2 win over Hope on Friday and then topped Saint Mary's in a pair of games on Saturday, winning 7-1 in a winner's bracket final and then winning 5-3 in the championship game.
The Knights improve to 29-8 on the year and receive an automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament with the tournament field set to be announced on Monday at 1 p.m. Calvin will be making its second straight trip to the NCAA III Tournament.
Calvin opened the tournament on Friday with an 8-2 win over Hope. Hope later eliminated host Trine from the tournament and was subsequently eliminated by Saint Mary's as the Belles advanced to the tournament final to face the Knights.
Calvin 7, Saint Mary's 1
Senior Kristen Newman (Chelsea, Mich./Chelsea HS) tripled in two runs in the second and was then brought home on a run-scoring single by junior Hannah Horvath (Caledonia, Mich./Caledonia HS) to put the Knights up 3-0.
Saint Mary's scored a run in the bottom half of the inning. Both teams threatened and but neither team scored again until the top of the seventh when the Knights used the long ball to put the game away. Sophomore Grace Stock (Vicksburg, Mich./Vicksburg HS) led off the inning with a double and junior Abi Colon (Caledonia, Mich./South Christian HS) followed with her ninth home run of the season to give the Knights a 5-1 lead. Freshman Grace Quiggle (Saranac, Mich./Lowell HS) then reached base with a one-out double and junior Kayla Groen (Frankfort, Il./Lincoln-Way East HS) belted a two-run homer to center to give the Knights a 7-1 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, sophomore Ellie Borst (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS) retired the side in order to pick up her 14th victory of the season. Borst struck out four and walked three.
Colon, Quiggle and senior Maddie DeGroot (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS) all had two hits apiece.
Calvin 5, Saint Mary's 3
In the championship game, Calvin overcame a 2-0 deficit with a three-run homer by Groen in the fourth. Horvath and Colon then followed with RBI singles to tack on important isurance runs.
Saint Mary's scored two runs in the first inning until the Knights mounted a rally in the fourth as DeGroot reached base on an error and Quiggle followed with an infield single. Groen then belted a clutch home run to left centerfield - her sixth home run of the spring. Senior Rachel Borden (Edwardsburg, Mich./Edwardsburg HS) reached base on a single and later scored on a single by Horvath.
In the fifth, Saint Mary's cut the deficit to 4-3 but had a threat extinquished when freshman Hannah Biddlecome (Portage, Mich./Portage Northern HS) snared a line drive in right and then threw a runner out at third base to complete an inning-ending double play.
In the bottom half, Stock roped a double to left, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Colon to put the Knights up 5-3.
In the sixth, Borst came on in relief of starter Anna Gernant (West Des Moines, Ia./Valley HS) and proceeded to strand two runners. She then tossed a one-two-three seventh to pick up the save and guarantee Gernant her ninth win of the season.
Gernant struck out eight batters in 5.1 innings while Borst tossed hitless ball over the final 1.2 innings.
Horvath, Stock and Borden all had two hits apiee. The double by Stock bumped her season total to 15, establishing a new Calvin single-season record. Colon also picked up her 40th RBI of the season in the win, pushing her up to second on the Calvin single-season RBI list.
COACHES COMMENT: "It was an exciting two days for our team," said Calvin head softball coach Becky Hilgert. "We had three great team wins. All 19 players contributed to this championship. Our energy level was high and I loved our enthusiasm. In the championship game we did a great job of remaining patient at the plate. We kept hit the ball hard and found a way to get a few runners on base as the game wore on. Our goal was to control our playoff destiny and it feels good to have reached that goal. We are looking forward to hearing our name called on Monday afternoon and having another chance to compete in the NCAA Tournament."
NEXT UP: Calvin will await its NCAA III Tournament placement on Monday when the tournament field is announced at 1 p.m. EST on NCAA.com