Ill. - How does a softball team commit 11 errors in one game and
not get blown off the field during the NCAA Division II Tournament?
Or, in this
case, how does a softball team commit 11 errors in one game and
actually win that same contest during the NCAA Division
Just ask the players
and coaches at either Northern Kentucky University or Southern Indiana
for the answers to those questions.
those two teams produced one of the wildest, wackiest softball games
in NCAA Tournament history, complete with an ending that bordered
on the supernatural. And when it ended, NKU had pulled out an improbable
11-8 victory over Southern Indiana in the winner’s bracket
final of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional at Cougar Field.
advanced to Sunday’s championship round and needs just one
victory to capture the Great Lakes Region title for a third straight
year and earn a trip to Salem, Va., for the NCAA Division II World
Series. The Norse will meet either Southern Indiana or Southern
Illinois at Edwardsville at 3:30 p.m.
NKU committed a mind-numbing, NCAA Tournament-record 11 errors and
trailed 7-4 going into its last at-bat in the top of the seventh
inning. Ricki Rothbauer - who finished with three errors at second
base - started the rally with an infield hit, and Heather Cotner
followed with a single to left-center.
hit a liner up the middle that was knocked down by Southern Indiana
pitcher Missy Grover, who forced Rothbauer at third for the first
out. Grover then hit Amanda Smith with a pitch to load the bases,
and Rachele Vogelpohl singled up the middle to drive in Cotner and
make it 7-5.
replaced in the circle at that point by Lindsey McNaughton, and
Cara Parker brought NKU within 7-6 with a sacrifice fly to right
field. Southern Indiana then elected to walk Shatona Campbell -
who had already homered and added a two-run triple - to face catcher
Jenny Weis with the bases loaded.
quickly got ahead in the count at 0-2, but Weis battled back. The
freshman then hit a liner that just eluded second baseman Audra
Lindenschmidt into right for a two-run single to give NKU an 8-7
lead. Kara Lorenz followed with a two-run single to make it 10-7,
and Rothbauer added an RBI hit to left-center as the Norse took
an 11-7 advantage.
greeted NKU pitcher Candace White with a solo homer to begin the
bottom of the seventh. Lacey Ligmanowski later had a one-out single,
and NKU head coach Kathy Stewart replaced White with Smith at pitcher.
Smith allowed an infield hit, but she retired the final two batters
on grounders to the circle and the Norse moved within one victory
of their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II World Series.
up the win for NKU, and Smith notched her fourth save of the season.
Rothbauer went 3-for-5
for NKU, while Vogelpohl - who just missed a home run in the sixth
- was 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Campbell drove in four runs
for the Norse, who allowed just three earned runs in the game. Parker
tied an NCAA Tournament record with four errors at third base.