ANGOLA, Ind. -- The Trine softball team punched its ticket to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in Oklahoma City with a 7-5 victory over Wisconsin-Oshkosh to claim the Angola Super Regional title Saturday at SportONE/Parkview Softball Field.
The Titans fought back from an early five-run deficit to tie the game in the fifth inning, but Catherine Porter's (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth Canton) go-ahead RBI-single in the sixth and an insurance run in the seventh gave Trine the victory. Porter, the team's lone senior, had two hits and two RBIs in the deciding game. The Thunder claimed its second Super Regional title and national championship in program history.
Lainey McCue (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Super Regional after batting .625 (5-of-8) with three runs scored and the walk-off RBI in yesterday's win. Danielle Ray (Hamilton, Ohio / Badin) was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher and earned the save in today's game.
A RBI-single by Kaylee Fox (Vermilion, Ohio / Edison) and a sac fly by Porter opened the scoring in favor of the Trine in the first inning.
The skies then opened up after the first and the two teams had to sit through a three-and-a-half hour rain delay before the game resumed. A McCue double and a walk by Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) set the stage for a big second inning. Michaela Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) followed with a two-run double. Claire Ryan (Union Grove, Wis. / Union Grove) added an RBI later in the inning.
A four-run third brought Wisconsin-Oshkosh right back into the contest. A two-run single by Abby Menting got the Titans on the board. Later in the inning, Amanda McIlhany doubled home a pair of runs to cut the score to 5-4.
Kate Saupe (Farwell, Mich. / Farwell) came out of the bullpen to get a couple big outs and keep the damage in the inning there. The sophomore fired 2.2 innings of key relief work. She allowed just an unearned run on three hits and struck out one. Saupe earned the win to improve to 5-1 on the season.
The Titans tied the score in the fifth on a single by Claire Petrus. A misplay in the outfield allowed Tanya Hammitt to cross the run with the tying run.
A rally in the top of the sixth gave the Thunder the lead. Back-to-back walks drawn by Ryan and Fox set the stage with one out. A fly-out moved pinch-runner Erica Robles (Long Beach, Calif. / Lakewood) to third. With two outs, Porter singled through the middle to score Robles with the go-ahead run.
Trine tacked on an insurance run in the seventh after loading the bases with one out. Ryan lifted a sacrifice fly for the final run of the contest.
Ray notched the save with two innings of shutout relief. She struck out three to set a school record with her sixth save of the season.
Ryan, Porter and Makenna Hartline all had two RBIs in the game. McCue had three hits and two runs scored.
Menting had a big weekend for Oshkosh, totaling five hits, five RBIs and three runs scored. She had three hits and two RBIs in today's effort. McIlhany added two hits and two RBIs.
Trine will face Amherst in the opening game of the NCAA Division III Softball Championship in Oklahoma City. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. CDT Thursday, May 25 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Postgame comments from Trine head coach Don Danklefsen, McCue and Porter below.