Thunder Secure 2019 Regional Championship

Photo Courtesy of Striggo Photography
Photo Courtesy of Striggo Photography

GREENCASTLE, Ind. – Senior Lainey McCue's (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) biggest home run of the weekend was all the scoring the Trine University softball team would need as they came away with the 1-0 win over DePauw University to return as regional champions.

Both teams would threaten in the first inning of the game. DePauw led off the first inning putting two runners on with just one out before the Trine defense tightened down and closed out the half inning. In the bottom half of the inning, the Thunder reached two of their own, both coming on walks, but failed to score stranding both.

The pitchers settled in for the next two innings keeping the bases relatively empty and the board still showing zero.

The Tigers' pitching was especially good with freshman Cami Henry taking a no-hitter into the bottom of the fourth inning. She would retire the first batter in that inning as well before McCue came to plate and broke up the no-hit bid and the shutout. McCue's fourth home run of the regional was a monster shot that flew over the scoreboard in left-center field.

The single swing gave the Thunder the 1-0 lead heading into the fifth. It would end up being enough for the victory as the Trine defense and pitching buckled down for the remainder of the contest.

Through the first five innings, senior Kate Saupe (Farwell, Mich. / Farwell) pitched her way through the lineup, keeping the opposition mostly out of scoring position. In the top of the sixth, the mist intensified and her grip on the ball was affected, but the defense picked up behind her.

Junior catcher Victoria Porter (Canton, Mich. / Canton) started the defense gunning down a stealing runner at second. Classmate Makenna Hartline (Niles, Mich. / Brandywine) came up with the next defensive play ending the sixth with a diving play at shortstop.

The Thunder continued to lead 1-0 heading into the top of the seventh. The first out came easy on a fly ball to right field. But then a batter reached first on an error and then the pinch runner reached second on a stolen base. The second out of the inning advanced the runner to third.

Once again Hartline came through defensively for the final out with a diving catch that ended the threat and gave the Thunder the victory.

The 2019 Regional Championship is the fourth in Trine University history. They await the results of the regional hosted by Thomas More University, the winner of which will become their opponent in the super regional next week.