FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University came up just short of winning both the regular season and postseason championship in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) on Monday afternoon as they were defeated by Northwestern College in a best-of-three series. The Warriors lost a tough 10-inning battle in game one, 1-0, before winning game two by a score of 4-0. Then in the final game of the championship series, the Red Raiders were able to come away with a 2-0 victory in the 9th inning.
Jaylee Hinrichs was nearly unhittable on the day as she pitched in both games one and two. She took a perfect game extra innings and remained unblemished until the 10th. In that inning two errors bookended a base on balls, the second errors allowed the winning run to come in for Northwestern. She finished with a no-hitter while striking out 20 batters in the loss.
Game two saw another stellar pitching performance for the Warriors, this time by Madison Plummer. She went the distance allowing just three hits for the complete game shutout. While she didn’t have the strikeout number Hinrichs did, she was able to get the batters to hit ground balls and get outs.
Bailey Hartman’s three-run home run in the 4th inning broke open the game for the Warriors. Sierra Athow would add another to the board in the 5th as she drove in a run with a single to left field.
In the winner-take-all finale, Hinrichs took to the circle again and was nearly as dominant, this time going all nine inning with 10 strikeouts. She did allow five hits over the game, two in in the final frame along with a walk that led to the Red Raiders two-run, two out double that proved to be the difference.
“I can’t say enough about how well Jaylee pitched and competed. Not just today, but over the weekend as well,” commented Coach Heard. “It’s by far the best I’ve ever seen her throw.”
Hinrichs’ broke the Midland school-record with 20 in game one and continues to add to her season-record for strikeouts which is now at 294.
“I was proud of the way our girls bounced back that second game and Madison threw a heck of a game,” Coach Heard commented after the games. “They’ve shown the ability to be resilient all year. Ultimately, we just didn’t have enough offense or didn’t execute some of the little stuff we needed to win. Hats off to Northwestern. It was a hard fought three game series.”
Midland (34-15) has earned a bid for the NAIA Softball Opening Round set to begin next week, May 14-16. They’ll learn the location of their games along with the other 39 qualifiers on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.