Jimmies fall short of GPAC championship series
Jimmies drop back-to-back games to Midland on Thursday in Fremont, Nebraska.
The Jimmies pitched and played defense well enough to win Thursday in Fremont, Nebraska, but struggled with the sticks.
Timely hitting eluded the University of Jamestown softball team against Midland University with a trip to Saturday's Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament championship series on the line. After toppling the 25th-ranked Warriors 1-0 on Wednesday, Midland bounced back to defeat the Jimmies 7-5 and 1-0.
The Jimmies received votes in the lastest NAIA top 25 poll, but are a longshot to receive an at-large bid to this month's NAIA tournament opening round. Jamestown is more than likely finished at 34-14 overall.
"Good attitudes, good group," said University of Jamestown coach Kevin Gall. "Just needed some timely hitting."
The Jimmies mustered just two base hits in the 1-0 finale of the double-elimination GPAC Midland Bracket. One of those hits, a single by freshman catcher Megan Neiles, came in the fourth inning as UJ stranded runners on first and second after Midland had taken the one-run advantage in the third.
Midland pitcher Hailee Fliam threw 65 pitches in her second shutout over the Jimmies this season.
"The pitchers threw pretty well," Gall said. "We were jumping on her early in the count. She was throwing strikes, we just couldn't do anything with it.
"We couldn't get the ball into the outfield, scoot it through the middle or over the fence."
Merchant was equally as solid in the circle for the Jimmies, tossing just 59 pitches and getting out of the third with just one run allowed after Midland loaded the bases on three straight singles to start the inning.
Midland's Bobbi Singleton plated the game's only run with a sacrifice fly to center before Merchant retired Sierra Athow and Roni Foote to get out of the jam. Merchant, Wednesday's winning pitcher in UJ's 1-0 victory over the Warriors, scattered eight hits and didn't walk a batter.
"We just have to limit their opportunities by getting outs when we need to get outs," Gall said. "We allowed a bunt single in an obvious sacrifice situation (in the third). That stuff hurts you.
"We're good enough to get out of that sometimes, but this time of year you really just gotta be able to put some runs on the board."
UJ's Jenna Remenar, filling in for senior Morgan Geiszler at shortstop, turned a 6-3 double play in the fifth to help keep Midland pinned to a single run. Geiszler was placed in COVID-19 protocol this week and was unavailable to make the trip south with the Jimmies.
Senior catcher Katie Residorfer provided a little offensive life in the seventh with a two-out single up the middle for Jamestown's second hit. But a grounder to second by left fielder Steph Cota ended the game.
Jamestown's Kat Miska (17-3, 1.24 ERA, .175 OPBA, 223 SO) pitched from the circle in Jamestown's first attempt at knocking the top-seeded Warriors out of the tournament.
But after Roni Foote gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead with a two-run home run in the fourth, the Warriors broke the game open with four more runs in the fifth.
The Warriors' Katlin Anders delivered a base-clearing double as the home team would eventually pull ahead 7-1.
Miska pitched four innings, allowing six runs on nine hits with four strikeouts.
"I think she threw well," Gall said. "That double to (Anders), we went high and inside two times in a row and we probably should've thrown something offspeed, maybe try to get her out front and get a force out at home. It didn't happen that way."
Merchant delivered a two-run single in the sixth and Sydney Prussia drove home one of UJ's two runs in the seventh, but the Jimmies ran out of time. UJ's Kassi Ward finished the game batting 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Santina Zito, Neiles, and Mariah Wick each finished with a pair of hits.
Aliya Rincon tossed all seven frames for the Warriors. Midland will play Concordia in Saturday's GPAC best-of-three championship series back in Fremont.
"We played pretty good ball," Gall said. "I think we played better than them defensively today, they just ended up getting the big hits."
2021 GPAC Softball Tournament
(25) Midland University 7, (RV) University of Jamestown 5
J 001 002 2 -- 5 12 1
M 100 240 X -- 7 11 0
Batteries: J, Kat Miska, Lucy Sinkkonen (5) and Megan Neiles. Aliyah Rincon and Ali Smith. W-Rincon. L-Miska.
Highlights: J, Miska 4 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 4 SO, 74 TP; Sinkkonen 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 19 TP; Kassi Ward 3-4, RBI, R; Santina Zito 2-4; Sydne Prussia 1-4, RBI; Gracie Fisher 1-4; Neiles 2-4, R; Katie Merchant 1-2, 2 RBI, BB; Mariah Wick 2-3, R.
M, Rincon 7 IP, 5 ER, 0 HR, 1 BB, 2 SO, 115 TP; Emily Prai 2-4, 2 R; Andrea Cespedes 1-3, R; Katlin Anders 3-2, 2 2B, 4 RBI, R; Roni Foote 2-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, R.
Records: Midland 35-8 Jamestown 34-13.
(25) Midland University 1, (RV) University of Jamestown 0
J 000 000 0 -- 0 2 1
M 001 000 X -- 1 8 3
Batteries: J, Katie Merchant and Katie Reisdorfer. M, Hailee Fliam and Katlin Anders. W-Fliam. L-Merchant.
Highlights: J, Merchant 6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 59 TP; Megan Neiles 1-3, Reisdorfer 1-3.
M, Fliam 7 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 65 TP; Emily Prai 2-3, Andrea Cespedes 1-3, Anders 2-2, Bobbi Singleton 0-2, RBI, SF; Roni Foote 1-3.
Records: Midland 36-8 Jamestown 34-14.
G1: (4) Jamestown 3, (5) Northwestern 2
G2: (1) Midland 3, (8) Briar Cliff 0
G3: Jamestown 1, Midland 0
G4: Northwestern 4, Briar Cliff 2
G5: Midland 5, Northwestern 4
G6: Midland 7, Jamestown 5
G7: Midland 1, Jamestown 0
Sioux City, Iowa
G1: (3) Concordia 5, (6) Doane 1
G2: (2) Morningside 6, (7) Mount Marty 5
G3: Concordia 9, Morningside 3
G4: Doane 5, Mount Marty 3
G5: Morningside 7, Doane 3
G6: Concordia 4, Morningside 0
At Highest Seed
(Best 2 of 3 Format)
G1: Concordia (32-9) at Midland (36-8), 11 a.m.
G2: Concordia at Midland, 2 p.m.
G3: If needed, TBA.