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Midland’s Softball season ends at NAIA National Tournament

Midland’s Softball season ends at NAIA National Tournament
DODGE CITY, Kan. – Midland University’s softball season came to an end on Wednesday afternoon as they were eliminated by University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma 9-2 in the Dodge City Bracket of the NAIA Softball Opening Round. The Warriors (36-17) came up two wins short of qualifying for the NAIA Softball World Series.

The game against the Drovers was much closer than the 9-2 score would suggest. After USAO got out to 2-0 lead in the first, Midland responded with two runs of their own in the top of the second. Andrea Cespedes drove in Alexis Oden and Jamie Phareswith a double to deep left field.

USAO would retake the lead with three runs in the third and then take on one run each in the fourth and fifth and then two in the sixth. The Warriors threatened in third, fourth and fifth, getting a runner into scoring position each time. Twice during the game they had the bases loaded. Once in the first and again in the sixth inning, but couldn’t get that extra hit they needed to push across a run or two.

“We proved we belong here this weekend,” head coach Mike Heard said after the game. “We’re building a program and not a just a single season team. We expect to get to this point of the season each year.”

Midland finished with four hits on the day, scoring the two runs on the double by Cespedes. The Drovers compiled 12 hits on the afternoon, scoring nine runs.

Jaylee Hinrichs took the loss, going five innings with four strikeouts. She threw 97 pitches while walking just one and allowing seven earned runs. Madison Plummer came in relief and pitched one inning, giving up the last two runs.

“Overall, I’m very proud of the way the team played this year,” head coach Mike Heard reflected. “This program is about developing great people and not just great softball players. The team progressed in all areas this year and that’s due to the dedication of our players and the great work of our assistant coaches. I certainly want to thank our seniors for all they did, and we are excited to build on this progress next season.”

Midland won a share of the GPAC Regular Season Championship this year, going 16-4 in conference play. They earned the tie-breaker and were the No. 1-seed in the postseason tournament where they fell to Northwestern two games to one in the GPAC Championship Series. Final polls for the 2018 NAIA Softball season come out June 6th the NAIA World Series and the Warriors look to find themselves in the final poll having defeated No. 11 Jamestown twice while taking No. 5 USAO to extra innings in the Opening Round.

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