DETROIT, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State
University softball team fought off the seventh ranked Warriors
from Wayne State, 4-3 to force a winner-take-all championship game
between the two teams, starting at 2:30 PM.
The Warriors jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but Cardinals starter Kari Bowlby (Elkhart, Ind./Central HS) settled in the circle nicely with the help of her defense.
The Cardinals had an early scoring opportunity after junior Ashley Jordon (Freeland, Mich.) laced a two out double to right center, but SVSU was unable to capitalize.
Junior Jessica McKeith (River Rouge, Mich) led off the bottom of the fourth with a walk and would advance to third on a Jillian Peterson (Freeland, Mich.) single through the left side. McKeith would score score on a fielder's choice. An error by starting pitcher Casey Haines on a throw to first allowed Peterson to score and a throwing error by the catcher on the same play allowed Angela Kaiser (Waterford, Mich./Our Lady of the Lakes HS) and Shannon McLaughlin (Benton Harbor, Mich./Watervliet HS) to score, giving the Cardinals a 4-1 advantage after four innings of play.
Wayne State would try to mount a comeback after a two-run homer made it 4-3 in the top of the seventh with one out, but Bowlby would quickly retire the next two batters to end the game. Bowlby went the distance in game one, allowing three runs on eight hits and striking out one as she led the Cardinals into the a winner take all rematch with the Warriors.