OKLAHOMA CITY – No. 4 Dixie State and No. 6 North Georgia will meet for the 2015 NCAA Division II Championship on Monday at 12:00 p.m. at Tom Heath Field on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University. It will be the first appearance in the title game for both programs.
The fourth-ranked Red Storm (52-7) rallied from a 6-3 deficit and defeated California (Pa.), 10-6, while the Nighthawks defeated Shorter twice, 8-2 and 7-5. Recaps of each game are below.
G12 – No. 6 North Georgia 7, No. 24 Shorter 5
As they did in the first semifinal against Shorter, North Georgia jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. However, the Nighthawks had to hold off a furious rally by the Hawks (43-17), but in the end came out victorious, 7-5.
Three consecutive two-out hits, the final a three-run blast to leftfield by Jessica Finch gave the Nighthawks a 3-0 lead after one inning. UNG tacked two on in the fourth courtesy of a two-out Shorter error and added another two in the sixth on RBI singles by Meagan May and Meredith Heyer.
Three Shorter hits combined with three UNG miscues allowed the Hawks get on the board with two runs and cut the deficit to 7-2 in the sixth.
Ericka Bynum made thing interesting in the seventh. With two outs, she launched a three-run home run to left to make it a two-run ball game, but Poole regrouped and induced a fly ball to medium center for the final out.
Improving to 46-4, Poole, the Schutt Sports/NFCA Player of the Year surrendered three earned run on, struck out six and walked one in a complete-game outing.
Shorter’s season comes to a close. In their first season of NCAA post-season eligibilty, the Hawks reached the national semifinals and won both the South Region and Gulf South Tournament title.
G12 – No. 4 Dixie State 10, No. 21 California (Pa.) 6
Trailing 6-3 after three innings, Dixie State scored seven unanswered, five of those coming in the decisive fourth, to defeat California (Pa.) and advance to the championship game.
In the big fifth inning, Janessa Bassett, Courtney Hine and Sheila Geiter each knocked in a run, while a pair of errors played a role in Dixie State’s other two runs.
Hine finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored for Dixie State. She was joined in the three-hit department by Josie Hartman. Nicole Chavez was 2-for-5 with a triple, RBI and two runs scored.
Aryn Feickert (20-5) picked up the win in strong relief outing. The righty went the final 5.1 innings in which she allowed just one unearned run and one hit with a strikeout and four walks.
Dixie State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on a RBI triple by Chavez, RBI single by Hine and an illegal pitch.
The Vulcans (43-13) responded with five runs in the bottom of the second and another in the third to grab a 6-3 lead. In the second, the Cal (Pa.) scored every which way possible- bases loaded walk, RBI groundout by Emily Price, two on a throwing error and run-scoring singly off the bat of Lindsay Reicoff.
Back-to-back sacrifice flies by Marla Reiter and Geiter gave the Red Storm a 10-6 cushion in the sixth.
The Vulcans hit the ball hard, but could not get much to drop. Reicoff, Jacquelyn Fowler, Hailey Wilson and Erica Vallecorsa recorded hits for California (Pa.). Fowler scored twice and four different Vulcan recorded an RBI.
The Vulcans season comes to close after reaching the national semifinals, claiming an Atlantic Region title and PSAC regular season and tournament crowns.
G11 – No. 6 North Georgia 8, No. 24 Shorter 2
Powered by a four-run first, North Georgia raced out to a 5-0 lead after two innings and cruised to an 8-2 win over Shorter, forcing an “if necessary” game.
Meagan May, Kim McMillan and Jessica Finch each went 3-for-4 in a 14-hit UNG attack. McMillan knocked in two runs. Courtney Poole picked up her 45th win with a complete-game effort. She allowed two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. The win also set a program and Peach Belt Conference record previously held by her assistant coach Sarah Phillips.
In the first inning, the Nighthawks scored their first two runs on a RBI fielder’s choice by Ansley Phillips and a run-scoring single from Finch. After an illegal pitch plated the third run, Katie Block dropped down a perfect bunt for the fourth run.
McMillan pushed across the fifth run with a RBI single in the second.
Shorter got on the board in the bottom of the third on back-to-back RBI singles by Kendall Johnson and Ericka Bynum. The Hawks had a chance to get more in the fourth, but a pair base running miscues ended the threat.
The Nighthawks tacked on single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh. Alexis Collis, McMillan and Meredith Heyer knocked in the runs respectively.
— Courtesy of Richard T Clifton