OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - The Northwest Missouri State softball team saw its season end Friday, but they did not go down without a fight falling 6-4 to Central Missouri in extra innings of the MIAA Softball Championships at the Blue Valley Sports Complex.
Northwest ends its season at 20-31 as the Bearcats made their third consecutive MIAA Postseason Tournament appearance. The Bearcats closed their season winning five of their final eight games as they narrowly missed an opening round upset of second-seed Missouri Western on Thursday.
Turning to staff ace, Jenna Creger, the Bearcats looked poised to advance staving off elimination for the second straight game. However, an 8th-inning double from Central Missouri put an end to the Bearcats season as Northwest was unable to rally in the bottom of the extra frame.
Northwest had taken the lead in the bottom of the second inning when Anastaszia Roseberry belted a 3-run homer giving the Bearcats a 3-1 lead. The blast would come just two pitches before both teams would be forced to sit through a 52 minute lightning delay.
After coming back from the delay both teams continued to pound out hits, but could not score base runners as UCM left 12 on base and Northwest left eight in the game.
The Jennies would make it a one-run game in the third inning and tie the game in the fifth on an RBI double from Ashlea Bengston.
In the top of the seventh fate looked as if the Jennies would steal the game from the Bearcats just as they had during the regular season; however after UCM took the lead in the top of the seventh, Northwest got an RBI triple from Kristen Uthe scoring Jordan Ereth who lead off the inning with a walk.
Heading into extra innings the momentum would shift to UCM as the Jennies scored two runs off the bat of Bengston to seal the win. Bengston led the Jennies going 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs and two doubles.
Northwest would attempt to rally thanks to a lead-off double from Rachael Schmitz; however she would be stranded as the Jennies retired the side with two strikeouts and a fly-out to end the game. Schmitz was one of two Bearcats to finish with multiple hits going 2-for-3.
Kristen Uthe also finished 3-for-4 with an RBI in the loss.
Closing the season Northwest had four players earn All-MIAA Honorable Mention accolades on Friday: Jenna Creger, Jr., P; Hailee Hendricks, Jr., 2B; Kristen Uthe, Jr., 3B; Kayli Schurman, Jr., DP.
Creger finished the season with 117 strikeouts giving her 407 for her career making her the all-time strikeout leader in Northwest history. Schurman finished the season with 15 home runs as she tied the single season record.