TYLER, Texas -- The Trine University softball team upset number two seed Illinois Wesleyan University in their first game at the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Championship by the score of 1-0.
Sophomore Mercede Daugherty (Watervilet, Mich. / Watervilet) played hero in the contest recording the lone run for the Thunder and giving them the victory.
The game was a pitcher's duel from start to finish with both sides putting their aces inside the circle for the game. For the Titans that meant junior Ally Wiegand who has been one of the best in the country throughout the season coming into this week with a nation-low 0.40 ERA.
But Trine junior Hannah Kampmann (St. Paul, Minn. / Cretin Derham Hall) was unphased by the stiff competition as she put together a stunning game in the circle. She allowed just three hits and two walks in the contest as she recorded her fifth shutout of the season.
The lone run of the contest came in the top of the fourth for the Thunder. After Wiegand recorded one of her ten strikeouts in the contest on Trine's leadoff batter, Daugherty came to the plate. She preceded to turn on an inside pitch and put it over the wall in left-center for her sixth home run of the season and first since April 13.
As the Thunder took the slim lead, the rest of the team rallied behind Kampmann's work and put forth a masterful defensive effort, illustrated best in the fourth and seventh innings.
In the bottom of the fourth Illinois Wesleyan put together a walk and a single to have runners on first and second with just one out. The next batter hit a sharp ground ball down the third-base line. Senior Lainey McCue (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) maned her station perfectly collecting the ball and stepping on third for the force out. But she did not stop there as she fired off the rocket throw to first to pick up the third out, turning a great 5-3 double play.
In the seventh, the Thunder were clinging to their one-run lead. They picked up a quick first out before the Titans put a ball through the gap and brought the tying run to second base. After another flyout to centerfield, Illinois Wesleyan was down to their final out. The final batter put the ball just far enough into the outfield to make it troublesome for the centerfielder to get to.
As has been the case all season junior Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) showed off her incredible range to make the play. She ran all the way from her spot at shortstop to make the diving over the shoulder catch in the outfield to end the game.
The win marks the first in an NCAA Division III Softball Championship for the Thunder, as they bowed out of their first two appearances after just two games. They will compete again tomorrow, Friday, May 24 at 4:30 p.m. CDT / 5:30 p.m. EDT. Their opponent will be Emory University.