ANGOLA, Ind. -- The Trine softball team will be looking to capture its second consecutive NCAA Regional title when the Thunder travel to Wisconsin-Whitewater for the 2017 NCAA® Division III Softball Regional.
The Thunder open postseason play Thursday at 1 p.m. CDT against Greenville College. Trine earned one of 20 at-large bids to the NCAA Division III Softball postseason after finishing the regular season 32-8 overall. The team was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The Thunder will be looking to follow up on last season's Regional title win. Trine has won two Regional titles in program history and is making its 10th-consecutive appearance in the NCAA postseason.
Information on the tickets, parking and other accommodations for the Whitewater Regional can be found HERE.
A challenging schedule has provided the Thunder with plenty of tests against tournament-quality foes this season. Trine earned a 10-6 record against teams to appear in this year's NCAA postseason.
Trine led the nation in home runs per game during the regular season, belting 53 in 40 games. Three-time All-MIAA First Team selection Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) led the way with 15 home runs. The junior became the school's all-time leader in career home runs earlier this season and has 44 career homers to her credit.
Fellow All-MIAA First Team selection Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) is one of 25 candidates for the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Player of the Year. The freshman owns a 16-3 record to go along with a 1.90 ERA. She has struck out 138 while walking just 26 in 132.2 innings. Ray recorded a scoreless streak of 39.1 innings this year.
Catherine Porter (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Canton) is the lone senior on the roster. The 2017 CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree earned All-MIAA Second Team honors at catcher for the first time in her career. Porter has caught every inning behind the plate while providing the Thunder with a .320 batting average, .469 on-base percentage, five home runs and 30 RBIs.
The Thunder have gotten strong contributions from its freshman class, which included four All-MIAA performers. In addition to Ray, Michaela Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine), Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) and Claire Ryan (Union Grove, Wis. / Union Grove) earned all-conference honors. Trine's freshman class has combined to hit .323 with 31 home runs and 132 RBIs. Thunder freshmen have picked up 54 percent of the team's RBIs.
Wisconsin-Whitewater and Hope make up the other half of the Regional bracket. The two teams will square off Thursday following the matchup between Trine and Greenville.
The tournament follows double-elimination format. More information on each team in the regional and a game schedule can be found below.
The Thunder and Lady Panthers will be meeting for the second consecutive postseason after Trine earned a 5-3 victory in last year's Regional opener. Greenville enters the postseason 24-15 overall. The Panthers won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament after finishing second in the league in the regular season. The team is making its second consecutive NCAA appearance.
The Lady Panthers are slugging .464 as a team and led the SLIAC in stolen bases with 83. Kate Joliff slugged .822 while amassing 30 extra-base hits, including seven home runs. Becca Oldham led the team with eight home runs and slugged .704. Jordyn Wieland leads Greenville's speed with 26 stolen bases on the year.
Trine and Greenville did not share any common opponents this season. The Regional meeting last season was the only contest all-time between the two schools.
The host and top seed in the Regional was ranked No. 9 in the latest NFCA Division III Top 25 poll. The Warhawks are 36-7 overall and will enter the week riding a 13-game winning streak. UWW won the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season title with a perfect mark in league action and followed that up with a fifth-consecutive WIAC Tournament championship.
Whitewater is one of the nation's premier offensive teams, batting .346 and slugging .495. Haley Morelli led the power surge with 12 home runs, 48 RBIs and a .457 batting average. Mallory Klotz batted .461 and added eight home runs, while Amy Ricci batted .414 with 41 RBIs. The Warhawks recorded 14 shutouts this season, due in large part to the work of pitcher Bella Matthias. She recorded 10 shutouts and a 1.13 ERA to go along with a 17-3 record.
Trine and UWW shared three common opponents this season. The Warhawks defeated Calvin 11-9, split a doubleheader against Illinois Wesleyan and swept Wisconsin-River Falls. The Thunder owned a combined 4-0 record against those teams. If the two teams were to match up during the Regional, it would be the first meeting all-time between the two programs.
The Flying Dutch are a familiar opponent to the Thunder, with the two teams meeting three times this season. Hope swept Trine during the regular season, but Trine responded with a win in the MIAA Tournament. The Dutch won their first MIAA regular season title since 2006 and are an at-large qualifier for the NCAA postseason. Hope enters the week with a 25-13 overall record.
MIAA Most Valuable Pitcher Sydney Jones leads the Dutch pitching staff. She record an 0.94 ERA this season to go along with 12 shutouts. Sammi Adams, Sierra Mutschler and Hayley Reitsma also earned all-conference honors for Hope this year. The Flying Dutch have won four of their last six meetings with the Thunder.
Thursday, May 11 (home teams listed first):
Game 1 – Trine vs. Greenville, 1 p.m.
Game 2 – UW-Whitewater vs. Hope, 3:30 p.m.
Friday, May 12:
Game 3 – Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 11 a.m.
Game 4 – Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2, 1:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Winner of Game 4 vs. Loser of Game 3, 4 p.m.
Game 6 – Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 5, 12 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary) – Winner of Game 6 vs. Loser of Game 6, 2:30 p.m.