UM-Dearborn softball splits with Madonna, enters WHAC tournament as four seed

UM-Dearborn softball's 2015 poses after a doubleheader against Cleary on April 12, 2015. (Rebecca Gallagher/MJ)
UM-Dearborn softball’s 2015 poses after a doubleheader against Cleary on April 12, 2015. (Rebecca Gallagher/MJ)

By HANNAH GENIG, Staff Reporter

The University of Michigan-Dearborn softball team hosted Madonna University Saturday and split in a significant doubleheader.

The Crusaders showed their strength in the first game, with senior pitcher Bree Crampton throwing her first no hitter while only allowing two walks. The Wolverines fell to the Crusaders 9-0 after five short innings.

According to the NAIA Softball Rules and Interpretation handbook, the eight-run rule is enforced when the trailing team does not score after five times at bat.

Despite the setback in the first game, the Wolverines regained momentum in the second game with a five-run third inning that resulted in a 5-4 win.

UM-Dearborn started the third inning by scoring three runs scored to tie up the game. While the streak should have ended with a third out being called at first base, the home plate umpire overruled the call because of a lifted foot, giving the Wolverines a chance to continue their rally.

This call gave freshman Jordan Ewald the opportunity to hit a single, allowing for two runs to be batted in and for UM-Dearborn to take its first lead of the day. Senior Jessie Thueme and sophomore Taylor Morceri also added two hits.

Junior Abby Jewell pitched four innings until being relieved by senior Kayla Goodwin. Both pitchers had two strikeouts and allowed three runs and one run, respectively.

With the regular season coming to an end, this doubleheader was of great importance for the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament standings. According to head coach Scott Combs, the loss for Madonna comes with major implications, as the Crusaders are no longer given the league title, as well as the automatic bid to nationals.

The Wolverines are currently ranked fourth in the WHAC with a conference record of 11-7. Because this is a major improvement over years prior, coach Combs has high expectations for the tournament.

“Improvement has been tremendous,” Combs said. “We’ve beaten every team in this league and now we’ll walk into the tournament not fearing anyone. Instead, they need to be conscious of us and that’s a great feeling.”

With morale at an incredible high after a strong regular season, the Wolverines plan to continue this endurance with the approaching tournament.

“We’ve won more games this season than any other season that I’ve been here. We’ll have to bring our A game because it will definitely be a good competition. But after today, if we bring it, we can do anything” said junior Makenzie Trowbridge.

UM-Dearborn split its regular season finale vs. Western Ontario, losing the first game, 8-7, and taking the second game, 9-1, in six innings. The Wolverines finish the season with a 23-23 record, its best season since 2010.

The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament is scheduled to begin April 29 at the Art Van Complex in Rockford, Mich.