GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- May 6, 2017 --
Chadron State College softball concluded its season on Saturday as most teams will, losing to Colorado School of Mines in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament championship play-in game, by a 9-1 margin. However, most teams will not experience the unprecedented success that CSC enjoyed in 2017.
Mines was able to bounce CSC from the tourney using a combination of speed and small but accurate swings. The Orediggers found gaps and laid down bunts, getting base hits in all but one inning, to activate the eight-run victory rule in the sixth inning.
CSM pitcher Claire Stringfellow held the Eagles to three hits and one earned run in a complete game. She advanced to 11-3 with the win.
CSC's ace Jessica Jarecki
was charged with the loss to close out the season 17-8 and set a new single-season record for wins.
Mines went up 2-0 in the first inning on a two-RBI double by Sonoma Toot, after a throwing error and two bunts put two runners in scoring position.
The Eagles got free baserunners in both of the first two innings, using a throwing error and a walk, but finally got on the board in the third when Courtney Lecher
walked, stole second, and made it home safely on Lindsey Karlin
's double, CSC's first base hit of the game.
Chadron State trailed 2-1 through another full frame of at-bats, before Mines caught fire in the fourth with five base hits to extend its lead to 5-1. The Orediggers went on to slap out five more hits in the fifth, and get three more runs across, before their final score in the sixth made it 9-1.
, playing for the final time alongside her sister, Kinsley, who entered to pitch in the fifth, laced a single up the middle in the Eagles' final at-bat, and Zoe Humphries
doubled, but the final out came before CSC could manage to start a rally.
CSC concludes its season with an all-time program best of 32 wins, finishing at 32-25 overall. The Eagles' 25 conference wins were also a program best. In addition, in three prior trips to the conference tournament, no team had ever won three games or advanced as far in the bracket as CSC did in the 2017 postseason.
Chadron State Head Softball Coach Rob Stack, whose coaching career comes to a close after 10 seasons and 221 wins, had some final comments on the season following the game.
"It's been an absolutely incredible season for CSC Softball," he said. "I'm so very proud of these ladies and what they accomplished this season. It's been an honor coaching the past 10 years.The program is where it is because of the players, coaches, families, and fans. CSC Softball is on the map."
Colorado Mesa, the regular season RMAC Champion, won the tourney final over Colorado Mines, by a 2-1 margin. CMU will advance to the eight-team NCAA Regional bracket, while the Orediggers await their fate via the NCAA Selection Show for Division II softball, scheduled for 8 a.m. MT Monday.
All-Tournament Team members were announced following the championship final, and among them were Chadron State freshmen Ellie Owens
and Jessica Jarecki
. Colorado Mesa's McKenzie Surface was the Tourney MVP.
The CSC team graduates six seniors, most of whom missed Commencement ceremonies to compete in the tournament. They are Taylor Bauer
, Zoe Humphries
, Lindsey Karlin
, Courtney Lecher
, and Morgan Wilhelm