Posted: May 19, 2012 6:17 PM
GULF SHORES, AL -- Central Methodist wrapped up its most successful campaign in three decades Saturday with a 5-4 setback to Indiana Wesleyan to conclude play in Pool F of the 32nd Annual NAIA Softball Championship. The Wildcats (45-13) and Eagles (41-14) conclude their seasons, each posting a 1-2 record in the pool.
Central Methodist entered Saturday's game with a chance to still win the pool and staked to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Erika Reinagel led off with a single to left field and scored in the next at-bat off a double to center by Michele Rupard.
Indiana Wesleyan would take a 2-1 upper hand with one run in the top of the fourth and fifth innings on an error and RBI single. The Wildcats built a four-run cushion with three runs in the top of the seventh before the Eagles made a late charge.
Kelsey Johnley and Kayla Yount opened the home half of the last inning with back-to-back singles. After both runners advanced into scoring position on a fielding error, Rebecca Lipsey took a 2-1 pitch deep to left field for a three-run bomb. Her third homer of the season cut the deficit to one run.
Later in the inning, Reinagel, Megan Robbins and Bri Boatwright hit three consecutive singles to load the bases with two outs, giving Central Methodist the game-winning run in scoring position. However, a well-hit ball by Rupard down the left side of the diamond was snagged by a diving Brittany Van Vliet who narrowly was able to tag pinch runner Bri Kirkland for the final out of the contest.
The Wildcats' Abbie Foreman (37-9) earned the win in the circle. She tossed a complete game, allowing four earned runs on 15 hits.
The Eagles' Aubrey Utley (26-7) dropped the decision. She gave up five runs, two earned, on seven hits in 6.2 innings of work. Marjorie Lusby pitched 0.1 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief.
Saturday's contest marked the final collegiate game for Johnley, Yount and Lipsey, the winningest class in school history. Yount ends the 2012 season setting a new single-season school record for slugging percentage as all three players conclude stellar careers holding numerous single-season and career Central Methodist records.
William Carey wins Pool F and advances to the double-elimination portion of the Championship set to begin Monday at 10 a.m. CDT.