SHAWNEE, Kan. -- Senior 2B Chelsea McClearnon led off the game with a home run, and junior RHP Samantha Sheeley retired the last 11 batters she faced as 10th-ranked Emporia State claimed the 2007 MIAA Softball Tournament title with a 4-0 win over Missouri Western Saturday (May 5) at the Mid-America West Sports Complex.
ESU (46-10) earns the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Division II National Tournament, which begins Thursday (May 10) at Minnesota State University-Mankato. MSU-Mankato was awarded the bid to host last week. The rest of the field will be announced Sunday (May 6).
The Lady Hornets, the 2006 NCAA-II national runners-up, have won an unprecedented four consecutive MIAA Tournament championships.
McClearnon quickly put Emporia State in the lead when she led of the game with a home run to leftfield off of MWSU starter Kristi Warneke (14-14). The Lady Hornets added another run with an RBI-single from senior 3B Megan Davison, which plated junior LF Jessie Wiard -- she followed the lead-off blast with a single.
Sheeley (18-5) used the cushion from the first inning and surrendered just two hits a single and a double by freshman SS Shannon Pivovar. She struck out eight (five in her first nine outs) and walked none to get her second win of the meet Sheeley tossed a five-inning no-hitter Friday (May 4) against Washburn.
ESU added an unearned run in the fifth when junior SS April Huddleston, who led off the frame by reaching on an error, scored on a single by freshman DP Miranda Campbell. The fourth tally came on a one-out solo homer from sophomore 1B Jennifer Dace in the seventh.
ESU handed Western a 6-1 setback to open the day, fueled by Davison's 11th home run of the season, the MIAA-record tying 51st four-bagger of her career. She's even with former Truman slugger Elizabeth Economon (2001-04).
The shot by Davison came in the first inning with McClearnon aboard off of Griffon senior starting RHP Lindsey Predovich (13-8), and spotted senior starting RHP Courtney Reed (26-4) a 2-0 lead.
Reed would set down the first 12 batter she faced before allowing a lead-off single to Predovich in the fifth. The only other hit she allowed was the lead-off home run in the sixth by senior C Carrie Christensen.
ESU added four runs during the sixth, the first two charged to Predovich -- a hit-by-pitch to Huddleston and a walk to Davison would chase her from the pitching circle. Warneke relieved and allowed a pair of unearned runs before it was over. Western reached the championship round by knocking out Washburn (30-20), 1-0, in the elimination bracket final, behind a three-hit shutout by Warneke.
The Griffon's only run in the game came in the third. With one out, sophomore 3B Amanda Nocita singled down the rightfield line. Senior CF Nicole Heineman then grounded to second, but the throw from junior 2B Malarie Fellers was dropped by sophomore 1B Dani White to which allowed Heineman to reach safely.
After a pop up to shortstop by Pivovar, Predovich singled to right to plate Nocita.
Warneke struck out four and hit a batter in getting the shutout. Freshman RHP Kayla Long (8-4) was the hard-luck loser for the Lady Blues, allowing five hits and two walks with one strikeout.
MIAA Freshman of the Year, 3B Tish Williams, had two of Washburn's three hits in the game. The Lady Blues advanced to the game with a 3-1 win over Northwest Missouri State (25-18).