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Tiffin’s second baseman Melissa Bowie closes in on a grounder in Saturday morning action at the NAIA championships.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Tiffin’s second baseman Melissa Bowie closes in on a grounder in Saturday morning action at the NAIA championships.

Lancers breeze through Day 2
Top-ranked team stays unbeaten

By Mark Edwards
medwards@decaturdaily.com · 340-2461

Before the NAIA championships began, California Baptist coach Mike Smith promised that his team had a fire in them after finishing runner-up the last two years.

It’s easy to see why. The top-ranked Lancers roared through the second day of the NAIA tournament at Wilson Morgan Park, beating defending champion Mobile 6-1 and then hammering Savannah Art & Design (Ga.) 14-1.

California Baptist (56-3) has won four out of four games in pool play and earned a spot in the eight-team double-elimination portion of the tournament, which begins Monday. The championships will take Sunday off.

The Mobile game is the closest anybody has come in the tournament to beating the Lancers.

“Our seniors are tired of finishing second,” Smith said. “We’ve talked about how we need eight wins to win the championship. We’ve won four. That’s the first hump. Now comes the second, and these girls want it bad.”

The game against Mobile marked a rematch of last year’s NAIA championship game, which the Lady Rams won 4-1.

This time, Mobile led 1-0 going into the bottom of the fourth, before the Lancers scored once in that inning, three times in the fifth and twice in the sixth.

The Lady Rams paid a price for losing that one, too.

Combining that loss with a 4-3 defeat to Dickinson State (N.D.) later in the day, Mobile (36-17) failed to advance to the double-elimination portion of the tournament.

In addition to California Baptist, the entire top six in the last NAIA poll made the final eight: No. 2 Oklahoma City, No. 3 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), No. 4 Simon Fraser (Canada), No. 5 Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) and No. 6 Houston Baptist.

Also, No. 10 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) and No. 16 Dickinson State (N.D.).

Simon Fraser, which has finished in the top four in each of the nine years, needed a dramatic ending to advance to the final eight this time.

The Clan (23-3) made a last-inning rally for the second time in the tournament.

Down 4-3 to Vanguard (Calif.) going into the bottom of the seventh, Simon Fraser loaded the bases when Melanie Matthews doubled, Erin McLean was hit by a pitch and Terra Davenport walked. Rebecca Hartley then singled home Matthews and McLean to win it.

Simon Fraser beat Lee (Tenn.) 9-8 on Friday after trailing 8-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh. NAIA Softball Championships

Players of the day

  • Paige Powell’s solo home run in the top of the 10th inning lifted Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) to a 1-0 win over St. Gregory’s (Okla.). It was her team-leading sixth homer of the year. Winning pitcher K.C. Robertson worked all 10 innings for Point Loma, striking out six and allowing six hits.

  • Shawna Rainwater went 4-for-6 with five RBIs as California Baptist beat Mobile 6-1 and Savannah Art & Design 14-1.

  • Cat Calvert of Oklahoma City slugged a solo home run in a 3-1 win over Simon Fraser (Canada) and went 2-for-3 in a 10-1 win over Lee (Tenn.).

  • Rebecca Hartley drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Simon Fraser (Canada) over Vanguard (Calif.) 5-4. A loss would’ve eliminated the Clan from the tournament.

  • Kelsey Boyer of Vanguard (Calif.) pitched a three-hitter in a 2-0 win over Columbia (Mo.). She worked all seven innings, didn’t allow a walk and struck out six.

  • Dana Dunsmore hit a three-run homer as Dickinson State (N.D.) beat Mobile 4-3. Then in a 2-1 win over Virginia-Wise, she went 3-for-3 with a run as her team clinched a spot in the final eight.

  • Dana Dunsmore hit a three-run homer as Dickinson State (N.D.) beat Mobile 4-3. Then in a 2-1 win over Virginia-Wise, she went 3-for-3 with a run as her team clinched a spot in the final eight.

  • Houston Baptist’s Cheri Wood pitched two complete games as her Huskies beat Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) 3-2 and Shorter (Ga.) 3-1. Those wins put Houston Baptist in the final eight.

  • Stephanie Orr of Tiffin (Ohio) went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs in a 7-6 win over William Penn (Iowa). Her one-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning drove in Cyla Hawkins with the winning run.

    Mark Edwards

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