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Softball: 'Cats win 'dogfight'

Just before the first pitch of Wednesday’s first-round tournament match-up, Miami starter Jessica Simpson was named Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year. Apparently the Bobcats didn’t get the memo.

Despite allowing three runs in the top of the first, Ohio (24-21, 12-8 MAC) mounted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh to take a 5-4 win from the RedHawks. The second seed Bobcats will face the winner of Central Michigan and Northern Illinois at 5 p.m. today.

“It’s a dogfight in this conference right now and we just have to be ready to battle all the way through the last pitch of the game,” coach Jodi Hermanek said. “I was just really proud of the girls. They threw a lot of guts out their on the field and kept their composure and kept their positive spirit and pulled it through together.”

Alexandria Basquez and Jillian Van Wagnen started the bottom of the seventh with singles. Then, in a gutsy at-bat, Alexis Joseph worked the count full and was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Simpson was able to get Paige Kemezis to pop out but had no such luck with Melissa Bonner, who hit a single to left field to score a pair and tie the game.

Emily Wethington then hit a single up the middle to score Joseph and walk off with the first-round win.

“Once we got back to the top of the lineup, we knew we were going to score,” Wethington said. “We knew that we were going to win.”

Wethington (W, 19-10), who was named First Team All-MAC, gave up three runs in the top of the first but found a rhythm after that.

“They were looking to score early so they were swinging at the first pitch,” Wethington said. “I think that was just their game plan and that worked for them but we came back and were successful with ours.”

Ohio made it a 3-1 game in the bottom of the second when Van Wagnen singled in Brooke Morgart with the bases loaded.

Both Wethington and Simpson were stellar in the third through fifth, shutting down the opposition, but the squads traded runs in the sixth to make it a 4-2 game heading into the final inning.


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