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Courtesy of Midland Athletics 

COLUMBUS, Ga. – No. 10 Midland University, who entered the postseason as unranked and unknown to many in the country, wrapped up its most successful season in program history on Monday afternoon at the NAIA Softball College World Series. The Warriors, who knocked out a pair of teams to reach the final week of the season, fell to No. 1 Oregon Institute of Technology, 6-0.

Early on, it was a defensive battle as Aliyah Rincon and the Owls’ Kacie Schmidt went back and forth. Midland sat the first seven batters of OIT down with Rincon picking up a pair of strikeouts. Schmidt allowed a walk in the 1st and struck out two through the first two innings.

In the 3rd, Oregon Tech got on the board with a solo home run. Midland looked poised to counter as Alexis Page led off the bottom of the inning with a single and then stole second with one out. Ariyana Crafton worked a walk to load the bases as the Warriors turned over their lineup.

The Owls’ ace got out of the inning with a flyout to left followed by a spectacular diving stop and flip to record the out at second base.

Oregon Tech added to its lead in the 4th as they hit the second homer of the day, a two-run shot that snuck in and around the right field foul pole.

Carly Pfitzer would reach, and advance to second, on a throwing error by the Owls to start the bottom of the 4th. She was left stranded though as OIT worked a groundout, a lineout, and then a strikeout to end the inning.

Midland’s defense got back on track in the 5th as they sat OIT down in order once again. Rincon, who went all seven innings, induced a pair of flyouts followed by one of her six strikeouts on the day.

Back-to-back singles by Page and Mia Orduna looked to spark the Warriors’ offense in the home half o the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Halle Meyer moved Page and Kevin Kight, who came on as a pinch runner, to third and second. The Owls escaped the inning with a popup in the infield and a foul out.

The 6th inning saw Oregon Tech homer for the third time in the game. Two runs were scored on the second home run by Maggie Buckholz, who finished with four RBIs on the day and recorded the 10th multi-homer game in World Series history.

Midland went down in order in the bottom of the 6th as Schmidt pitched to her defense that recorded two more groundouts and a lineout.

In the final inning, Oregon Tech added a run on three singles while Midland got its first extra-base hit of the game. With twos, Sara Showalter came through with a line drive to right field as the Warriors kept battling. OIT would get the final out of the game with a strikeout to advance to the next round.

“I’m so incredibly proud of this team,” head coach Beth Singleton commented. “At the beginning of the year, they set their sights on making it here and they put in the work to make it happen. The past few seasons we’ve been on the verge of reaching the World Series, the things this group did to come together on and off the field to get here were awesome. We’ll miss our group of seniors that put so much into our program the past few seasons. We wish them the best in the next stage of their journey.”

Midland finishes the 2023 season with a 41-15 record, winning the GPAC Postseason Tournament before advancing to the NAIA World Series for the fourth time in program history. They were one of the final six teams vying for the championship in Columbus, Georgia.

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