Central Michigan softball rallies to secure MAC tournament spot


Harrow, Ontario senior Tala Dean catches a left field pop-up to end the top of the 7th inning in their game against Buffalo April 24 in Margo Jonker Stadium. 

Coming from behind in game one and going into extra innings for game two, Central Michigan softball clinched a spot in the Mid American Conference tournament with 5-1 and 4-3 victories over Miami (Ohio). 

Game one

Five runs in one inning from the Chippewas led them to a 5-3 victory in game one of their double header. 

Miami (Ohio) would take an early lead with Karli Spaid scoring on an infielders choice in the first inning, but that’d be the only run they get. 

The Chippewas would quickly answer in the second inning with an RBI single from Maddie Springer to score Tessa Nuss to knot the game at one. An error would score Springer and Mills. Adding onto the fire, Shannon Stein doubled and a triple from Michaleigh Vallimont would give the Chippewas a 5-1 lead in the second. 

Grace Lehto took the mound for the Chippewas, pitching all seven innings. She gave up three runs on eight hits, walked three batters and struck out five. With the win, Lehto proves to be the Chippewas ace and improves to 15-11 on the season. 

Looking to come back, Riley Coyne sent one out of the park down the left field line cutting the Chippewas lead to 5-2. Rallying from the homer, Kate Kobayashi would score on a sacrifice bunt making the score 5-3, but Lehto and the Chippewa defense shut down Miami and left them hitless in the seventh. 

Game Two 

After eight innings of play and no hits until the sixth inning, the Chippewas finally came out with an extra inning 4-3 win. 

Kaitlyn Bean would take the mound for the Chippewas, pitching seven innings. She gave up two runs on nine hits, walked one batter and struck out two. Caitlyn Britton would take the mound for the eighth and final inning. Britton would give up one run and two hits and record the win for the Chippewas with one strikeout. 

Both the Chippewas and Miami struggled to get on the board, going five and a half innings with no score until a single from Abbey Tolmie in the sixth inning fired up the Chippewas. Stein would follow up with a single to right field. A pass ball would score Tolmie and Tessa Knapp giving the Chippewas a 2-0 lead. 

Miami would quickly strike back in the seventh inning with an RBI double from Spaid to score Shelby Kunkel and get Miami on the board. A triple down the left field line from Holly Blaska would score Spaid and tie the game at two. 

All knotted at two after seven, the game called for extra innings. Miami would look to take the lead with an error by the Chippewas catcher Sammi Mills making the score 3-2 going into the bottom of the eighth. 

With the game on the line, the Chippewas relied on the top of their line up. A single by Tolmie would start the rally for the Chippewas and set the stage for Stein's 16th double of the season tying her season high and scoring Tolmie to tie the game. An RBI sacrifice fly from Britton would score Vallimont and end the game with a final score of 4-3. 

What's Next

The Chippewas face Miami of Ohio Sunday at 1 p.m.