By RICKY LINDSAY, Editor in Chief
The University of Michigan-Dearborn softball team felt the sting of losing to Davenport in the opening game of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament Wednesday.
But the Wolverines had one more chance at revenge against the Panthers.
UM-Dearborn and Davenport battled in the WHAC championship game Friday with a NAIA national tournament berth on the line.
And a battle it was.
The Wolverines pushed national-ranked Davenport to the brink at the Art Van Complex in Rockford, Mich., but fell short, 7-6, after a sixth-inning home run by sophomore Lindsay Tasma.
UM-Dearborn finishes the season as WHAC runner-ups with a 26-24 record. It’s the program’s best mark in five years.
Davenport (40-8), the 2015 WHAC champion, earns a bid to the NAIA national tournament.
UM-Dearborn senior Jessie Thueme had a performance to remember in her final collegiate game. She went 2 for 3 and hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning.
Sophomore Taylor Moceri went 2 for 4 with two runs for the Wolverines.
Juniors Valerie Bertani and Makenzie Trowbridge collected UM-Dearborn’s two other hits.
UM-Dearborn started the game with two runs in the first inning via free passes.
With the bases loaded, freshman Jordan Ewald was hit by a pitch, which scored Moceri. One batter later, freshman Ellie Kauten walked to score Bertani.
Davenport roared back in its half of the first inning, plating three runs on a three-run homer by sophomore Alyssa Eastman.
The Panthers tacked on a pair of runs in the second and third innings on solo home runs by senior Karli Myers and Tasma.
A four-run fourth inning put UM-Dearborn ahead, 5-4, after Thueme’s three-run homer and Trowbridge’s RBI double.
But Davenport retook the lead from UM-Dearborn in the fifth inning after Tasma’s second home run of the game, and sophomore Lauren Groendyk’s RBI single gave the Panthers a two-run cushion.
Fresh off the WHAC’s Pitcher of the Year award, Emily Maves held UM-Dearborn at bay. She tossed a complete game, allowing six runs while striking out 10. The sophomore held the Wolverines hitless in the final two innings.
UM-Dearborn used three pitchers — junior Abby Jewell, senior Kayla Goodwin and junior Alex Elwell — against Davenport.
Jewell pitched one inning and allowed four runs. Goodwin pitched 3 2-3 innings of relief, allowing three runs.
Elwell pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings and struck out three.