The Lady Statesmen (46-16) began their improbable run with a 5-0 elimination-game win over #3 seed Mount Mercy to reach the finals against #4 Iowa Wesleyan. The squad avenged Saturday's 5-1 loss and last year's finals elimination by knocking off the Tigers 9-1 (5 innings) and 2-0.
The MCC Tournament title is the team's first since 2007 (third overall). It gives the navy and gold the MCC's automatic berth to the NAIA National Championships, its third appearance ever (2005, 2007). Nationals will be held in Gulf Shores, Ala. from May 17-23 and pool play pairings will be released in the upcoming days.
William Penn is 2-6 all-time at the national event (1-3 both times). The program's 46 wins tie for second-most all-time (2007).
The Lady Statesmen did all of their damage against the Mustangs in the bottom of the third. Brittni Reyes (Sr., Vacaville, Calif., Solano CC) led off with a single and eventually scored the first run of the day.
(Fr., Loveland, Colo., Mountain View HS) then scored on a single by Brianne Rowley
(Sr., Hood River, Ore., Blue Mountain CC). Khyia Lewis
(Sr., Ottumwa, Ottumwa HS) produced the most important hit of the matchup, though, by clearing the fence with a three-run homer. She now leads William Penn with a school-record 17 roundtrippers. Rowley and Molly Miller
(Jr., Kalona, Mid-Prairie HS) also scored on the home run.
Following the Lady Statesmen's big inning, Mount Mercy (29-21) was limited to one hit in the final four frames (three total). Jennifer Whitehead
(So., Oskaloosa, Oskaloosa HS) returned to her MCC Pitcher of the Year form by striking out seven (one walk) in the win.
William Penn notched nine hits, including two by Rowley and Lewis.
The squad continued to pour on the offense against Iowa Wesleyan (26-35) by putting four on the board in the first.
Miller doubled and was brought in on another two-bagger by Lewis. Lewis and Rowley were then plated when Ashley Stream
(Sr., Chariton, Chariton HS) put the delivery over the left-center wall for a three-run shot. It was her fifth of 2012 and her second of the weekend.
Iowa Wesleyan put its lone run of Sunday on the board in the bottom half to narrow the score to 4-1.
The navy and gold were fortunately far from done at the dish. Dennis got the regular season champions going in the fourth with a lead-off single and then touched the final base on a Miller double. Rowley doubled to score Miller and that was it for Tiger first-team all-MCC pitcher Sierrah Garcia.
William Penn did not let up against relief hurler Sonja Holmes as Stream's double scored Rowley, while Gamble concluded the inning's tallying with a single to record Stream.
Stream then put her team up 9-1 in the fifth with a double that scored Lewis. The Lady Statesmen pounded out 14 hits, compared to three by Iowa Wesleyan. Miller and Stream (five RBIs) were both 3-for-4, while Dennis was 2-for-3 and Christine Gamble
(Sr., Pahrump, Nev., Pahrump Valley HS) was 2-for-4. Eight of the squad's nine starters had a base knock.
Whitehead (24-10) was again strong in tossing the first three innings. She was replaced by Nicole Danna
(Jr., Boone, Iowa Central CC) to preserve herself for the ‘if-necessary' championship contest. Danna closed it out by permitting only one hit in the final two frames.
Following two lopsided victories, it figured that a pitcher's duel would ensue in the finale.
The teams combined for just nine hits (5-4 WPU) and the first run was not plated until the bottom of the fourth by some surprising heroes. Athena Rosario
(Sr., Bremerton, Wash., Olympic CC) reached on a fielder's choice and was sacrificed to second by pinch hitter Rikki Picariello
(Sr., Port Coquitlam, B.C., Olympic CC). The senior finally scored on a two-out single by another pinch hitter Cassie Lohman
(Jr., Burbank, Calif., Providence HS).
William Penn tacked on an insurance run in the sixth as Stream scored on another two-out hit, this time a double off the stick of Ashley Kingery
(Jr., Knoxville, Knoxville HS). Stream paced her group with a 2-for-2 showing.
While the decisions to utilize Picariello and Lohman off the bench were huge, the coaching staff's choice of giving Whitehead a two-inning break in the prior game may have been its best call as the well-rested southpaw dominated the Tigers. She struck out two for her 12th shutout of the spring.