Tiffin Downs Eagles To Win GLIAC Championship

Sunday mornings have a tendency to be quiet and lazy.

            In University Center, Mich., on Sunday morning (May 8), it was quiet and hazy for the Ashland University softball team.

            The Eagles managed just two hits off of Tiffin pitcher Amber Young in the GLIAC Tournament championship game, which began at 10 a.m.  It took Young and her teammates one hour and 52 minutes to win the first GLIAC title in school history, 5-1 over the Eagles (32-17).

            AU's only hits were singles from center fielder Lyndsey Brandt (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) and shortstop Bri Woody (Cleveland, Ohio/Magnificat). Young (14-4) did walk five hitters, but she was always able to dance out of trouble.  The Eagles left six runners on base.

            Tiffin put the Eagles in an early hole, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning.  Mindy Meredith drove in the first runs with a single and later in the stanza, Lesy Herbert singled to bring home one more run.  AU starter and loser Logan Hursey (Zanesville, Ohio/John Glenn) lasted two-thirds of an inning and allowed three runs (none earned) on two hits. Hursey (3-10) walked three batters.

            When the Eagles removed Hursey, they turned to Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio).  Knerem finished the game, going 5.1 innings and allowing two runs on four hits.  She walked one, struck out six and did a good job of holding down a red-hot Dragons lineup.  Tiffin added insurance runs in the fifth and six innings, but those were really just icing on the cake because the Eagles could do nothing against Young.  Tiffin's run in the sixth came on Caitlin Houk's second homer of the season.

            The Dragons (39-12) have a good chance to be the top seed in the region when the NCAA playoff field is announced on Monday (May 9).  Tiffin went into the conference tournament ranked second in the region.  The region's top seed, Indianapolis, was eliminated from the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament before it reached the championship game.

            As for the Eagles, they went 3-2 at the GLIAC event and are in the mix to receive one of eight regional postseason bids. The Eagles have advanced to the playoffs each of the last two years.