ANGOLA, Ind. -- The Trine softball team will be looking to earn an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Regionals when the Thunder compete in the MIAA Softball Tournament this weekend.
Trine will face Hope in the first round Thursday, May 4 at 1 p.m. The ninth-ranked Thunder earned the No. 4 seed with an 11-5 record in league action and a 30-6 record overall. Trine has won five of the last seven MIAA Tournaments. The winner of the tournament receives the conference's automatic-qualifying bid to the NCAA Regionals, which Trine has appeared in each of the last nine years.
All-MIAA First Team member Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) headlines a potent Thunder lineup that led the nation in home runs per game during the regular season. Fox led the conference with 14 home runs and became the school's all-time leader in career homers in Trine's last game. As a team, the Thunder belted 49 home runs and slugged .534 during the regular season.
Michaela Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine), Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine), Catherine Porter (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Canton) and Claire Ryan (Union Grove, Wis. / Union Grove) add to the lineup depth as All-MIAA Second Team performers. Porter, the team's lone senior, got on base at a .500 clip in conference play. Trine's All-MIAA Second Team members combined to hit 22 home runs, with each player hitting at least .310 on the year.
Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) and Hannah Kampmann (St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin Derham Hall) received the bulk of the innings in the circle this year. Ray is one of 25 candidates for the Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III National Player of the Year award and earned All-MIAA First Team recognition. Kampmann is coming off a career-high seven strikeouts and a shutout in her last performance.
A brief look at each team in the rest of the tournament field can be found below.
No. 1 Hope
The Flying Dutch earned the No. 1 seed by sweeping Alma on the final day of the regular season to claim a share of its first conference title since 2006. Hope enters the MIAA Softball Championship 25-11 overall. The Dutch swept the Thunder in a doubleheader during the regular season and have won three of their last four games against Trine.
MIAA Most Valuable Pitcher Sydney Jones gives Hope an ace in the circle. Jones led the MIAA with a 0.87 ERA and has not allowed a run in her last four starts. All-MIAA First Team members Sammi Adams and Hayley Reitsma, as well as All-MIAA Second Team performer Sierra Mutschler give the Dutch an experienced lineup. Adams led the MIAA in steals.
No. 2 Alma
The Scots saw their chance of an outright MIAA title dashed with a sweep at the hands of Hope on the final day of the regular season. Alma finished conference play 13-3 and earned an overall record of 24-8. The Scots swept the Thunder at SportONE/Parkview Softball field in a doubleheader earlier this season. They are the defending conference tournament champions.
Alma tied the Thunder for the most All-MIAA selections at six. Morgan Stratton leads the Scots in the circle with a 1.02 ERA this year. All-MIAA First Team catcher Danielle Service hit a team-high eight home runs, while fellow first-teamer Mary Brooks batted .433. Anna Couture, Chelsea Schweiger and Riley Terwilliger all earned All-MIAA Second Team honors.
No. 3 Saint Mary's
The Belles tied a team record with 12 MIAA wins on their way to finishing third in the conference. Saint Mary's finished the regular season with an overall record of 23-13. The Thunder swept the Belles in the meeting between the two teams at SportONE/Parkview Softball Field.
MIAA Most Valuable Player Cassie Young gives Saint Mary's a potent offensive threat. She led the conference with a .473 batting average and .504 on-base percentage. Twin sister Jamie Young and pitcher Morgan Raymer also earned All-MIAA First Team honors. Makenzie Duncan was an All-MIAA Second Team performer.
The MIAA Softball Tournament game schedule is as follows.
Game One: Alma vs. Saint Mary's, 11 a.m.
Game Two: Trine vs. Hope, 1 p.m.
Game Three: Loser Game One vs. Loser Game Two, 3:30 p.m.
Game Four: Winner Game One vs. Winner Game Two, 5:30 p.m.
Game Five: Winner Game Three vs. Loser Game Four, Noon
Game Six: Winner Game Four vs. Winner Game Five, 2 p.m.
Game Seven: Game Six rematch if necessary, 4:30 p.m.