Lindsey Wilson Softball falls in NAIA National Championship Game

 

Blue Raiders forced the “if necessary” game but eventually fell in the title game 10-0

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The 2015 Lindsey Wilson softball season came to end on Thursday night in the National Championship Game of the 2015 NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College.

The Blue Raiders (53-8) took the first game of the evening 3-0 to force the “if necessary” national title game, but then just ran out of steam eventually falling to Auburn-Montgomery (Ala.) 10-0.

It marked the fifth time in 2015 that these two teams met, with AUM just edging the Blue Raiders 3-2 on the season.

Lindsey Wilson topped the WarHawks (46-9) 3-0 in the opener to force a second championship game.

The Blue Raiders quickly got to starting pitcher Cassie Jones in game one as Jenna Firestein began the bottom half of the first with a walk. Chelsea Showers then smashed a double to centerfield as Firestein got a great jump on the ball as was able to come all the way home and score for the early 1-0 lead.

The Blue Raider duo were at it again in the bottom of the fifth when Firestein walked with one out and proceeded to steal second and advance to third after a throw by the catcher was booted into left field. Showers then delivered another double to center to score Firestein for the 2-0 advantage.

Travatia Bowden added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. After the previous two batters struck out, Bowden took the first pitch she saw and sent it over the left-field fence to make it a 3-0 game.

The three runs would be enough for starting pitcher Jordan Hood as she dominated game one in the circle.

After a double put runners on second and third with one out, Hood struck out the next batter and got a groundout to end the inning to preserve the 1-0 lead at the time. From that point on, Hood faced the minimum up until the seventh inning, retiring a string of 14-consecutive batters before a leadoff single in the top of the seventh. Hood would retire the final three batters via groundout to seal the 3-0 win and force the “if necessary” championship game.

Hood was masterful in game one tossing a complete-game three-hit shutout with three strikeouts and just one walk.

Auburn-Montgomery’s Jones (34-5) suffered just her fifth loss of the season, allowing all three earned runs on four hits with eight strikeouts.

In the second national championship game, both starting pitchers from the previous game trotted out to take the circle for their respective team.

The tables had flipped though as Auburn-Montgomery began to solve the Hood puzzle that had shut down their offense in the opening game while the Blue Raiders continued to struggle against Jones in the circle.

This time, AUM would be the first to strike, taking Hood deep on back-to-back batters in the top of the first to quickly build a 2-0 lead. The runs put Lindsey Wilson behind for the first time in 29 innings at the World Series.

Auburn-Montgomery doubled their lead in the third with a pair of singles and a passed ball to score two more runs, chasing Hood from the game in favor of Casey Bryan.

Bryan pitched well in relief allowing just three hits, but two runs came across after a single and a double in the fourth and she was charged with a run in the sixth after issuing a walk.

Hood, who threw a World Series-most 42-2/3 innings, then re-entered the game to pitch, but the WarHawks continued to roll scoring four more runs off of her in the sixth to make it a 10-0 game.

Lindsey Wilson was unable to plate any runs in the bottom of the sixth as the game ended early due to run rule.

Hood (21-3) was hit with just her third loss of the season giving up a season-high 11 hits and seven earned runs. She finishes the 2015 World Series with a 5-1 record.

For their efforts, Hood, Bowden and Amanda Trampe were named to the NAIA Softball All-World Series Team.

Hood, the senior from Locust Fork, Ala., leaves Lindsey Wilson as the program’s all-time leader in appearances, starts, complete games, wins, saves, shutouts, innings pitched and strikeouts.

Cassie Jones took the win with the complete-game, five-hit shutout in the second game. Jones was named the World Series Most Valuable Player for the second-consecutive season, helping to lead the WarHawks to their second title in as many years.

Lindsey Wilson had the most successful season in program history in 2015, setting a new program record for wins in a season at 53, setting a school record with 33-consecutive wins and advancing to the program’s first-ever national title game.

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