University of Jamestown pitcher Katie Merchant needed to have a short memory on Friday, May 3 during the Great Plains Athletic Conference softball tournament.
The freshman from South Haven, Minn. was roughed up in the opening game of the Midland Bracket finals, allowing five runs, six hits, while not making it out of the second inning against top-seeded Midland University.
But the Jimmies' No. 2 pitcher rebounded in a do-or-die game 2, going seven innings, allowing one run, while scattering seven hits as Jamestown is heading to the GPAC tournament finals with a 3-1 victory over Midland in Fremont, Neb.
The Jimmies (30-18) take on second-seeded Morningside (Iowa) College (28-8) in a best-of-three series today starting at 11 a.m. at Jensen Softball Complex in Sioux City, Iowa.
"We just wanted to make them work much as they could and hopefully we could learn as much as we could from their pitcher," Gall said, while the Jimmies made the 80-mile trip to Sioux City. "The girls took to that and there was a reason for everything they did."
Jamestown snapped a five-game losing streak over Midland with the victory. The Warriors defeated the Jimmies twice at the 2018 NAIA national softball tournament by scores of 1-0 and 3-2, while taking the 2019 regular-season series 9-1 and 5-0.
The Warriors, playing their second of three games on Friday, used a 7-0 advantage to propel them to a 9-1, five-inning victory. Meanwhile, 2018 NAIA All-American Second Team member Jaylee Hinrichs limited the Jimmies to three hits.
"I knew we had to play another and I knew the first game was over," Merchant said. "We had to keep fighting."
But the final game was much different against Hinrichs, the 2018 GPAC Pitcher of the Year and All-GPAC first team member.
Sydney Prussia opened the scoring with a home run to left field in the second inning. After Midland tied the game up at 1-1 in the third, Mariah Martinez and Katie Reisdorfer recorded RBIs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, making the final score 3-1.
"It was a matter of making adjustments on the All-American caliber pitcher," Gall said. "We didn't hang our heads and stayed ashore. A lot of those at-bats went 6-7 pitches and the girls just battled. There was probably 25 people there and I wish there 2,500."
Katie Merchant, who pitched a bulk of the innings this weekend for the injured Kat Miska, threw 20 frames over the last two days, allowing eight earned runs, 24 hits, struckout 13 and only walked one batter.
"She's grown up a lot this year and just the maturity to settle in," Gall said. "The first inning was key, she set them down 1-2-3 and set down the first nine she faced. She settled in and (catcher) Katie Reisdorfer did a nice job of calling the game. It was about as hard as we've battled and the best (Merchant) pitched all year."
Added Merchant: "I got out into the circle and I was fine. I knew I had a job to do. I kept it right around the plate and let them get themselves out."
Jamestown lost to today's opponent, Moringside, 6-2 and 7-1 during the regular-season finale April 28.
"Hopefully our pitching keeps us in the game and they have a strong pitcher to keep them in it," Gall said. "We have to have good consistent ball and play hard. We have nothing to lose, so we'll see what happens."
Midland University 9, University of Jamestown 1 (5 innings)
UJ 000 10 -- 1 3 1
MU 250 11 -- 9 10 2
W--Jaylee Hinrichs. L--Katie Merchant.
UJ highlights: Mikayla Frost 2-3; Mariah Martinez 1-2, RBI; Katie Reisdorfer 0-2, R.
University of Jamestown 3, Midland University 1
UJ 010 011 0 -- 3 6 0
MU 001 000 0 -- 1 7 2
W--Katie Merchant. L--Jaylee Hinrichs.
UJ highlights: Katie Merchant 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, BB, 6 K; Meghan Ramage 1-3, R; Sydney Prussia 1-2, RBI, R; Morgan Geiszler 1-3; Katie Reisdorfer 1-3, RBI; Miriah Yoder 1-3; Mariah Martinez 1-3, RBI.
Records: University of Jamestown 30-18. Midland University 31-10.