Green Knights Outlast Carroll, Weather to Win Fifth MWC Title

From Sports Information Director, May 6, 2012 | Softball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

LAKE FOREST, Ill. - St. Norbert College had to beat Carroll University and Mother Nature but managed to survive a tense championship round of the Midwest Conference Tournament to claim its fifth league softball title.

The Green Knights dropped their opener 6-2 before holding off Carroll - playing in its third game of the day - 2-1 in eight innings to win the tournament's decisive Game 7. St. Norbert has won three MWC titles in the last four years, and will find out its NCAA Tournament regional draw at 9 a.m. Monday morning.

St. Norbert also battled about a 2-hour rain delay to start its first game, and then waited out another rain delay in the second inning of the same game. The eventual championship game was completed without interruption.

In the championship game, St. Norbert got the winning run in the top of the eighth inning. Steph Brunette doubled to left-center field and was sacrificed to third by Samantha Gross. Morgan Buboltz then lofted a sacrifice fly to left to score Buboltz. Carroll put two runners on in the bottom of the eighth, but Nicole Leden's line drive up the middle was speared on a fabulous diving catch by Brunette to end the game.

St. Norbert drew first blood in the title game, getting a run on three hits in the top of the first inning. Brunette and Gross singled to start the inning and Jessica DeMeuse's hit scored Brunette. Carroll answered in the third inning on an RBI single by Rebecca Menelle.

Morgan Rusch picked up the win for St. Norbert, working around 12 hits by not issuing a walk and two strikeouts. Rusch forced Carroll into leaving the bases loaded in the third inning and two runners on base in the first and eighth innings. Rusch's only "clean" inning came in the Carroll fifth.

Brunette was 3-for-4 in the title game and scored both runs for St. Norbert, which had just five hits in the contest.

In the opener, Carroll led 3-0 before St. Norbert answered with two in the third getting runs on a Buboltz single and outfield error. The Pioneers scored one in the fourth and two in the fifth to put the game away.

JoAnna Ruppa had two hits for St. Norbert. Shannen Schmidt took the loss, allowing nine hits in four-plus innings.