FINDLAY, Ohio – Battling through the conciliation bracket and playing in three elimination games, the Ohio Dominican softball team persevered and beat Grand Valley 11-3 to advance to the GLIAC Championship game on Sunday.
Winners of four straight games, the Panthers now advance to the championship game against Wayne State on Sunday, May 4 for the first time since joining the GLIAC in 2010. The first game is set to start at 10 a.m.
Once again, the Panthers opened up the scoring, pushing one run across the plate in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Caitlin Jividen (Wheeling, W. Va.) drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a single by junior Taylor Thomas (Bellville, Ohio). Jividen would score on a fielder's choice by freshman Allie Hinton (Newcomerstown, Ohio).
In the top of the second, Grand Valley State's Miranda Cleary homered to right center to knot the game at 1-1.
In the third, the Lakers capitalized on bases loaded with a sacrifice fly out to center field by Cleary to take a 2-1 lead over the Panthers.
In the bottom half of the Panthers third inning when Thomas blasted a three-run dinger to right center field, her 10th of the season to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead. Sophomore Kelsey Albanese (Westerville, Ohio) drove in the fourth run of the inning to make it 5-2 with a double to right field, scoring Hinton, who had doubled previously.
In the bottom of the fourth, ODU broke the scoring wide open, scoring four runs on two hits. Junior Brier Sanner (Hartville, Ohio), who has been locked in at the plate since the start of the tournament, started the inning with a double to center field. A flyout to right field allowed Sanner to advance to third, where she then scored unearned when sophomore Montana Fishel (Gahanna, Ohio) reached on a fielding error. Fishel advanced on a groundout by Jividen and moved to third on a wild pitch. The Lakers made the decision to intentionally walk Thomas to The freshman made GVSU pay, blasting a three-RBI homerun off the top of the right center field fence to lead Grand Valley 9-2.
In the fifth for Grand Valley, Brianna Taylor homered to left center to make the score 9-3.
Just needing two runs, the Panthers delivered in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to the bats of Fishel, Thomas, and Albanese. Fishel led the inning off with an infield single and advanced to third on a double down the right field line by Thomas. With Fishel and sophomore Julia Suyak (Trenton, Mich.), who pinch ran for Thomas to win the game on second and third, Hinton hit the game winner to center field to score both.
Junior Brandis Fishel (Gahanna, Ohio) picked up the win for the Panthers. Pitching 4.0 innings while allowing just two hits and one walk.
Contact: Sarah Twiggs