May 8, 2004
NKU SOFTBALL WINS REGIONAL TITLE
Norse defeat GVSU, 4-0, for NCAA II Great Lakes Region crown
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Krystal Lewallen hurled a one-hit shutout Saturday as the Northern Kentucky University softball team defeated Grand Valley State University, 4-0, to capture the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament championship.
Lewallen struck out nine batters en route to her 31st victory of the season, and it was the sophomore pitchers third win during the Great Lakes Region Tournament. The only hit Lewallen allowed was Sarah Paapes fourth-inning blooper over the pitchers mound that fell between three players.
Lewallen, who allowed just one unearned run in 21 innings on the mound during the Great Lakes Region Tournament, was named the most valuable player of the event. The Crestwood, Ky., native is now 31-3 this season and owns a 47-12 career record at NKU.
NKU (54-5) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Rachele Vogelpohl lined a run-scoring single to left field. The Norse increased the advantage to 2-0 later that inning when Megan Owens scored on a wild pitch thrown by Grand Valley State starter Jennifer Mackson.
Becky Napier gave NKU a 3-0 lead in the third inning when she drove a ball into deep left field for a double that plated Angie Lindeman. The Norse added another run in the top of the seventh when Stephanie Leimbach collected an RBI single, and Lewallen took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the inning.
Lewallen wasted no time in dispatching Grand Valley State, as she retired the Lakers in order. Lewallen ended the game by getting Mackson on a called third strike, and the NKU players and coaches celebrated the Norse softball programs first-ever Great Lakes Region championship.
Owens went 2-for-3 and was named to the All-Tournament Team after hitting .571 during the Great Lakes Regional. Also earning spots on the All-Region Team for the Norse were Sara Becker, Napier and Leimbach.
Becker batted .333 with a game-winning hit during the Great Lakes Region Tournament, while Napier finished with a batting average of .429.
Grand Valley State, which defeated Lewis University by a 7-0 score in an elimination game earlier Saturday, ended the season with a 36-8 record. Mackson, who had tossed one-hit shutouts at NKU the past two seasons during the NCAA Tournament, finished the 2004 campaign with a 25-4 record.
NKU, ranked No. 5 nationally in the NCAA Division II poll, earned a trip to the national finals in Altamonte Springs, Fla., May 13-16. The Norse will play this Thursday at 1:30 p.m. against North Central Region champion St. Cloud State University (40-13).
NCAA II GREAT LAKES REGION ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Pitcher - Krystal Lewallen, Northern Kentucky
Pitcher - Jennifer Mackson, Grand Valley State
Catcher - Megan Owens, Northern Kentucky
Infield - Melissa Lindgren, SIUE
Infield - Sarah Paape, Grand Valley State
Infield - Sara Becker, Northern Kentucky
Infield - Ashley Blandford, West Virginia Wesleyan
Outfield - Robin Martz, Lewis
Outfield - Stephanie Leimbach, Northern Kentucky
Outfield - Tara Marsh, Grand Valley State
Designated Player - Becky Napier, Northern Kentucky
At Large - Crista Buresh, Grand Valley State
At Large - Mary Jaszczak, Lewis
Most Valuable Player - Krystal Lewallen, Northern Kentucky