Upland, Ind. – The Marian softball team added to their win streak as the Crossroads League Tournament commenced Wednesday morning, as the Knights defeated Goshen College 3-1 in the opening game. Marian improves to 44-11 overall after the win in their 55th game of the season, advancing to Wednesday afternoon’s winner’s bracket game.
After getting a quick start from Sydney Wilson on the defensive half of the first inning with a three-up, three-down start, Marian looked primed to plate the first run of the game in the bottom of the first. Savannah Harweger and Shelbie Stotts both singled in the opening frame, but Goshen’s Mia Pawelski was able to shut down Marian’s offense with a pair of infield groundouts.
Wilson continued to look sharp as she stranded a one-out single in the second inning, while in the third the junior was able to strike out the side, sending the top of the lineup card to the plate. Harweger ignited the offense with a one-out single in the bottom of the inning, but was thrown out after Kassidi Cadle hit into a fielder’s choice. Looking to keep the inning alive with two outs, Shelbie Stotts took a 2-1 pitch deep into right field, tripling home Cadle for the first run of the game. Sarah Kush doubled the lead with an RBI single to shortstop, pushing Marian ahead 2-0 after two innings.
Stotts’ triple was the 10th of her three-year career, tying her amongst Cadle, Chelsey Hartman (11-15), Jessica Slayton (08-11), and Maria Montgomery (01-04) for a share of the program record.
With a lead at hand, the Marian southpaw continued to look sharp, shaking off a walk in the fourth inning by getting a pair of strikeouts. Wilson left one mistake in the top of the fifth inning, as Pawelski helped her own cause with a lead-off solo shot to right field, cutting the difference in the score to one run. Wilson bounced back after the home run with one strikeout and a pair of outs to the left side of the infield, protecting the 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Stotts restored the two-run lead with an RBI double to score Cadle, pushing Marian on top 3-1.
Wilson finished the game with power, throwing two strikeouts in both the sixth and seventh innings, including the final two outs of the game, to close the Crossroads League Tournament win. Wilson earned her 20th win of the season following the 10 a.m. win, striking out a career-high 12 batters while allowing one run and three hits.
Offensively, Stotts was a perfect 3-3 and finished a home run short of the cycle, doubling and tripling in the win. Stotts had two of the Knights’ three RBI, and Kush had the other. Harweger went 2-3 in the game, and Emma Maple recorded a base hit in a sixth inning pinch-hit appearance.
Marian will turn around and play either Spring Arbor or Taylor at 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon in the second game of the tournament.