After losing its opening round game of the two-day KCAC tournament in Great Bend, the Tabor College softball team fought its way through the elimination bracket, winning four games in a row to reach the championship game.
Tabor then faced top-seeded Kansas Wesleyan, and came up short, 7-3.
?Kansas Wesleyan is a very tough team with great pitching and tough hitters the whole lineup,? coach Suzanne Unruh said. ?We didn?t back down. We hit really well, we just couldn?t get the ball to fall.?
The Coyotes struck first with a run in the first inning, but Tabor tied it in the second.
Kansas Wesleyan scored three runs in the third and three in the fifth to stake a 7-1 lead.
In the final inning, Tabor mustered two hits, including a two-run home run by Lauren Massey, but the rally fell short.
?I am very proud of this team,? Unruh said. ?They had so much determination this past week.
?To go into the loser?s bracket after Game 1 and go back-to-back four games and make it to the championship game just shows how much heart and dedication to each other they have.?
Dymnioski was 2-for-3 at the plate. Lauren Massey led with two RBIs.
Marilee Burge (13-13) took the pitching loss. Over four innings, she gave up seven hits and four runs (all earned). She walked one batter with no strikeouts.
Tabor concludes the season with an overall record of 24-26.
?We are setting the bar high for next year, as our team could see the finish line within reach,??Unruh said. ?We will have high goals next year and will go to work for a conference title and a trip to a national site starting in August.?
As the regular-season and tournament champion, Kansas Wesleyan will participate in the NAIA Softball National Championship Opening Round beginning May 12. Ottawa will also participate after finishing second in KCAC standings.
Tabor 2, Ottawa 1?Tabor earned its spot in the championship game by beating No. 2 Ottawa.
Both teams scored a run in the second inning. Tabor?s Megan Taylor hit an RBI double.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the sixth inning. The Bluejays pushed across the winning run when Brittney Dymnioski hit a sacrifice fly that scored Katie Henning.
Taylor was 2-for-2 batting with one RBI. Dymnioski also doubled.
Marilee Burge (13-12)?was the winning pitcher. Over 32?3 innings, she gave up two hits and no runs. She walked no one and struck out one.
Tabor 8, Saint Mary 1?Tabor won its first game Friday 8-1, using a four-run third inning to take the lead for good. After Tabor?s first two batters grounded out, the next five Bluejays recorded hits, including a two-RBI single by Brittney Dymnioski, an RBI double by Sarah Massey and RBI single by Lauren Massey.
The Spires scored in the bottom of the inning, but Tabor extended its lead with a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Katie Henning was 3-for-4 batting with one RBI.
Marilee Burge (12-12) was the winning pitcher. Over seven innings, she gave up eight hits and one run (earned). She walked no one and struck out one batter.
Tabor 3, Friends 2?Tabor concluded bracket play Thursday with a victory over No. 4 Friends in eight innings.
Friends scored first with a run in the bottom of the first inning, but Tabor tied the game in the third when Katie Henning hit an RBI single.
The score remained that way until the seventh inning. Tabor added a run when Sara Vela hit an RBI single, but Friends tied the game with a run in the bottom of the inning.
Henning opened the eighth with a double, and Brittney Dymnioski drove the winning run home with a single. Although Friends managed two hits in the bottom of the inning, Tabor did not give up any runs to hold on for the win.
Henning was 2-for-4, including a double, and had one RBI.
Jaycie Morris (5-5) was the winning pitcher. She scattered nine hits and two runs (both earned) over eight innings of work while walking no one and striking out five.
Tabor 11, McPherson 7?The Bluejays stayed alive in the tournament Thursday by beating No. 7 McPherson in the first elimination game.
After two scoreless innings, McPherson scored two runs on two hits and two errors in the top of the third.
But Tabor claimed the lead with three runs on three hits, including a two-RBI double by Araselly Vargas, in the bottom of the inning.
Vargas later hit an RBI double in the fifth inning to increase Tabor?s lead to 4-2.
McPherson, however, used a five-run sixth inning, which included a two-run home run, to shift the momentum.
The Bluejays bounced right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring seven runs on seven hits to push momentum back in Tabor?s favor. From there, Tabor cruised to victory.
Vargas was 3-for-4 at the plate, including two doubles, and had five RBIs. Brittney Dymnioski and Lauren Massey also doubled.
Jaycie Morris (4-5) was the winning pitcher. In one-third inning of work, she gave up two hits and one run (earned). She neither walked nor struck out any batters.
Bethany 4, Tabor 2?Tabor opened the tournament Thursday with a 4-2 loss to No. 3 Bethany.
The Bluejays claimed the lead in the first inning when, after Madison Tracy doubled, Katie Henning followed with an RBI double that brought Tracy home for the game?s first run.
Tabor added a run in the second inning on an RBI single by Tracy for a 2-0 lead.
But Bethany answered by scoring three runs on four hits in the fourth inning and scored the game?s final run in the fifth inning.
Tabor managed only one hit over the next two innings. Tracy and Henning accounted for all four of Tabor?s hits. Both were 2-for-3 and had one RBI apiece.
Marilee Burge (11-12) absorbed the pitching loss. Over six innings, she gave up nine hits and four runs (all earned). She walked two batters and struck out one.