Luther College Chips

Softball wins Regional Tournament

Softball celebrates after their win.

Softball celebrates after their win.

Photo courtesy of Photo Bureau

Photo courtesy of Photo Bureau

Softball celebrates after their win.

Martin Donovan, Staff Writer

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The Luther College Women’s Softball team advanced to the NCAA Division III Super Regional tournament after sweeping the Iowa Regional tournament 3-0. The team ended the weekend with an overall season record of 38-8.

According to captain Anna Strien (‘18), the Norse were riding the momentum from their IIAC conference tournament win.

“I think the team is pretty excited to say the least,” Strein said. “We are coming off of a huge wave of confidence and focus since our conference tournament victory last week and we definitely feel this will only benefit us heading into our games tomorrow.”

Strien added that playing at home provided an extra benefit for Luther.

“To have the chance to play on your home field is of course an awesome opportunity for us,” Strein said. “But more so there is a comfortability factor at play and the fact that we know our friends, families, and supporters will be there to cheer us on in good numbers of course gives us even more excitement heading into tournament time.”

The number 16 nationally-ranked Norse won their first game against Lake Forest College 11-3 on Friday, May 11. Lake Forest took an early lead after Samantha Bratland (‘19) gave up a solo home run in the first inning. However, Strien responded with a double hit in the first inning that brought in Natalie Stockman (‘18) to tie the game. Luther continued to add to their lead, scoring in every inning.

Luther followed their win against the Foresters by defeating Cornell College 6-0 in the semifinal game, behind Bratland’s seven-inning shutout. Catcher Addy Pender (‘19) posted three RBIs and two runs while Ashley Burrows  (‘18) hit a solo home run in the third inning.

Bratland’s success carried over to the Iowa Regional Championship game, where she completed another no run seven-inning outing against the College of St. Benedict and Saint John’s University, helping the Norse to a 3-0 win against the Blazers. All three of Luther’s runs came in the second inning off Paige Timmerman’s  (‘20) two-run double and Bailey Hocker (‘18) scoring off a St. Benedict error.

After the tournament, Bratland said that Luther played well both offensively and defensively during the weekend.

“We played really well,” Bratland said. “The biggest thing for us is that we played good defense and the offense followed. Hitting is contagious, one person gets a hit and every one followed.”

Bratland’s three straight victories in the Iowa Regional earned her the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. Bratland was joined on the All-Regional team by Burrows, Hocker, and Pender.

Luther will host the seventh nationally ranked University of St. Thomas for the Iowa Super Regional on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, 19. The winner of the best of three series will move on the NCAA Division III National Championship in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

“We have always had a history of playing St. Thomas in the past in this situation,” Bratland said. “I’m really looking forward to playing them in the Super Regional and hopefully getting past the Super Regional and getting into the final eight.”

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