Big Inning at NCAA Tournament Keeps Foresters' Season Alive

Photo by Maxie Mottlowitz
Photo by Maxie Mottlowitz

The Lake Forest College softball team scored eight runs in the fourth inning and defeated visiting University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 8-0 in five innings to avoid elimination in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament on Saturday. The Foresters had fallen 3-0 to the University of St. Thomas earlier in the day.

Lake Forest and St. Thomas were victorious in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament on Friday and faced off for a spot in the championship. The Tommies scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning and one more in the third while a sixth-inning single through the left side of the infield by Forester freshman designated player Alyssa Grimm was Lake Forest's only hit in the contest.

St. Thomas, the 12th-ranked team in the nation, improved to 40-6 on the year.

Whitewater then extended its season a couple of hours with a 4-2 come-from-behind victory over Aurora University. Aurora finished the season with a record of 32-14.

The Foresters had a hit in each of the first three innings against Whitewater but were unable to score until the fourth. Senior first baseman Sally Snarski led off the frame with a base hit and the next two batters reached on errors. Another Whitewater error on a fly ball to left field plated the game's first run and an errant throw on the same play allowed another Forester to score. Sophomore rightfielder Callie Schaser bunted the runners over and reached second herself when the throw to first got away. Sophomore leftfielder Sydney Gardner then broke the game open with a three-run homer to center. It was her fourth round-tripper of the season. Senior catcher Alex Hemmer re-started the rally with her third single of the game and later scored on a base hit by sophomore shortstop Kat Beall. Freshman centerfielder Maria Zepeda added a run-scoring double to finish off the scoring.

Lake Forest senior pitcher Jessi Werner took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth inning before surrendering a single up the middle. She settled for a one-hitter and her fifth shutout of the season. Werner has won each of her last 14 decisions and is now 18-4 with a 2.27 earned run average this year.

The Foresters improved to 30-13 while the Warhawks finished the season 29-14.

Lake Forest and St. Thomas will face off again Sunday morning at 11:00 with the Foresters needing a pair of victories over the Tommies to advance to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second year in a row.