MONTGOMERY, Ill. – Our time. That's what head coach Kyle Knoblauch has been preaching to his MSOE softball team all season. It certainly is their time now. The Raiders bulldozed through the NACC softball tournament, winning the championship game in convincing fashion over the Marian Sabres at Bedrosian Stadium on a picture-perfect Saturday afternoon.
NACC Tournament Championship Game (6 innings)
Marian - 1
MSOE Raiders - 9
HOW IT HAPPENED
The scoring action started in the third inning, as both MSOE (33-10) and Marian (26-15) got on the board in their respective halves. The Sabres pushed the first run of the ballgame across in the top of the third frame thanks to an error in left center. The MSOE offense made sure that was a nonfactor however, scoring three of their own in the bottom half. Rachel Ziemba (South Elgin, Ill. / South Elgin) doubled to left field to score one run before Kim White (Plainfield, Ill. / South) reached base on an error that pushed two more across, putting the Red & White up 3-1.
The Raiders did even more damage in the bottom of the fourth, making sure that the tournament would not be extended by an extra game. After an Amanda Manssen (Bull Valley, Ill. / McHenry West) walk that scored a run, Ziemba once again doubled, this time to left center to clear the bases. The Red & White failed to score in the fifth, but up 7-1 in the sixth, Ziemba once again stepped up to the plate. I think you know where this is going. With bases loaded once more, the senior shot a single up the middle, scoring Alyssa Baffin (Burbank, Ill. / Reavis) and Caitlyn Spreitzer (Plainfield, Ill. / Joliet Catholic Academy) to mercy rule the game and give the Raiders their first ever NACC championship by the score of 9-1.
The tournament title is the first ever in the program's history. This was due in large part to the Raiders pitching staff. Emily Wiederholt (Cuba City, Wis. / Cuba City) and Lorrin Pondo (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Bolingbrook) didn't allow a run in over 20 innings before the unearned run in the third inning crossed the plate, which happened to be the lone tally either pitcher would give up in the three games the Raiders played in.
MSOE STAT TRACKER
Lauren Stefanczyk (Palmyra, Wis. / Palmyra-Eagle) – 1 run, 3 hits
Amanda Manssen – 2 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, 1 RBI
Rachel Ziemba – 1 run, 3 hits, 6 RBIs
Lorrin Pondo – 3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 0 runs allowed
WHO'S ON DECK
The Raiders will find out their opponent for the NCAA regionals this Monday when the selection show airs live on NCAA.org. Full updates and links will be available on our social media accounts that morning.