Morningside clinched the 2010 GPAC Regular Season title and a trip to the NAIA National Tournament as they swept Nebraska Wesleyan, 6-2, 10-2, in softball action on Saturday (May 1) in Sioux City, Iowa.
Nebraska Wesleyan finishes the regular season 26-12 overall and 17-7 in the GPAC to place second in the league standings and earn the No. 2 seed at the GPAC Postseason Tournament. The Prairie Wolves will open the tournament on Thursday (May 6) against No. 7 seed Dana College at 4 p.m., at the Smith Softball Complex in Hastings, Neb.
Game one of the doubleheader matched two of the GPAC's top pitchers as NWU's Alysia Wittmaack faced Kelly Baumert from Morningside. Wittmaack struck out eight and allowed six hits and six runs, but only two were earned. Baumert fanned nine and allowed only three hits with one earned run to get the win.
Both team's defenses struggled as Morningside committed seven errors, while NWU had two. The Prairie Wolves didn't take advantage of the errors as they left eight runners on base.
NWU scored first in the top of the fifth to break open the scoreless contest. Anna Brownell walked and moved to second on a sacrifice. Dani Bryant then had a bunt single and stole second to put runners at second and third. Megan Beckstead then reached on an error by the first baseman to score Brownell. Marcia Kennedy then reached on an error by the centerfielder to allow Bryant to score.
Morningside then scored all six of their runs in the sixth inning as they had four hits, including a two-run home run by Kayla Clarey, and a three-run home run for Erica Bohlmann.
Game two was controlled by Morningside as they had 12 hits and ended the game in the sixth inning with three runs.
NWU did jump ahead 2-0 in the first inning as Marcia Kennedy and Jessica Weingarten hit back-to-back solo home runs. That would be the only scoring that NWU would get the game as they had five hits in the final six innings.
Bohlmann and Mackenzie Neely were both 3-4 to lead the Mustangs as they had a combined five RBI.
Abby Wilmes took the loss for NWU going 3.0 innings allowing seven hits and seven runs with only three earned.
Nebraska Wesleyan will now try to qualify for the NAIA National Tournament with a good performance in the GPAC Postseason Tournament. The tournament winner gets the second automatic berth in the National Tournament, if Morningside wins the tournament, the GPAC Tournament runner-up receives the bid.