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Softball headed to third straight NCAA tournament

Softball headed to third straight NCAA tournament

ST. ANN, Mo. -- The softball team became just the third program in conference history to win three consecutive SLIAC tournaments when they defeated Westminster 4-2 in the championship game on Saturday.

The Panthers appeared in the championship game for the fifth straight year and for the second straight year they won all three games en route to hoisting the tournament championship trophy.

Greenville jumped on top of the top-seeded Blue Jays with two runs in the top of the first inning. Koontz reached with a one-out bunt single and moved to second on a two-out single by Kate Jolliff Rosado. Beth Mersinger followed with a two-run double to right center, starting the game's scoring early.

Westminster had their chances, starting with the second inning. The Blue Jays put runners at second and third but a stellar play by Panther shortstop Megan Barrett kept them off the board. Barrett ended the inning after diving to her right and making a strong throw from her knees to close out the inning.

The Blue Jays pushed a run across in the third inning and Amber Tepen was cut down at the plate trying to score from second, ending the Blue Jays threat and the inning.

Greenville responded quickly with an RBI single from Cayla Speaks in the next half inning, bringing the score to 3-1.

The Panthers plated an insurance run in the fifth when Jordyn Wieland scored on a double by Becca Oldham

The Blue Jays would attempt one more chance at a comeback, putting their first two batters on base to start the seventh, a groundout would keep the Blue Jays tying run at second base as the championship game came to a close. 

Stone picked up tournament MVP honors after working all seven innings of the championship game, allowing one earned run. Greenville totaled 13 hits in the game with five different players tallying multiple hits. Joining Stone on the All-Tournament team were Megan Barrett, Kate Jolliff Rosado, and Caitie Opp.

The Panthers (21-15) will learn their NCAA tournament destination on Monday.