William Woods Softball Advances to AMC Title Game
COLUMBIA -- Ilissa Facchini's RBI double in the top of the eighth inning helped the William Woods University softball team upset no.1-seed Williams Baptist College in the American Midwest Conference Final Four on Saturday afternoon.
William Woods (22-14) was engaged in a pitching battle with Williams Baptist (36-5) as the two top pitchers in the AMC, MacKenzie Bowden for the Owls and Karisa Hendrix for the Lady Eagles, went toe-to-toe for seven innings.
Bowden struck out 13 batters over eight innings, allowing just one run on six hits in earning her second victory over the sixth-ranked team in the nation on the season, as she defeated the Lady Eagles 1-0 in eight innings a couple a weeks ago.
Neither team could put a run on the board through seven innings, as the two teams would again square off in an extra-inning affair. In the eighth, William Woods came through with a run as Facchini knocked in Shelby LeCuru with an opposite field double. Lindsey LeCuru added a second run in the inning with a sac fly, giving the Owls a 2-0 lead.
Williams Baptist threated in the bottom of the inning, as they plated a run, with a sac bunt, but Bowden struck out Kirsten Gipson to give William Woods the 2-1 win.
WWU advancef to the winners bracket of the AMC Final Four, where they defeated rival and third-seeded Columbia College 4-3.
William Woods (23-14) will be playing in its second AMC title game in three years, as Becca Schemmer was able to up hold an early Owls 3-1 advantage to defeat Columbia College (22-17) advancing to the finals.
WWU got on the board first without the benefit of a hit in the first inning. Shelby LeCuru reached on a walk then advanced to second on a wild pitch. She then moved on to third as Ilissa Facchini grounded out to second, and she would score on the Cougars second wild pitch on the inning.
Columbia College was not down for long, as they were able to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning with a Taylor Atwood RBI single.
Facchini knocked in Shelby LeCuru for the Owls second run in the top of the third. William Woods wasn't done scoring in that inning, as Kacey Scharnhorst came in on a Lindsey LeCuru groundout, giving WWU a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Kristy Pluchinski gave William Woods a 4-1 advantage with a RBI single. Yet, Columbia College struck again in the bottom of the fifth to pull back within two runs going into the sixth.
Columbia would make things interesting in its last at-bat the first two batters would reach base and advance on a sacrifice bunt putting the tying run at second. The Cougars scored their third run of the game on a wild pitch that pulled them within one at 4-3 and the tying run just 60 feet away.
Schemmer would bear down and strike out Kirsten Aiken, then got Atwood to ground out at second, preserving the Owls 4-3 victory.
William Woods will now play in the AMC Title game as they will play the winner of Park University and Columbia College at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.