VIENNA, W.V. — The IU Southeast softball team won a trio of games Saturday to capture the River States Conference Tournament title.
The second-seeded Grenadiers defeated Point Park (Pa.) 6-2 in the losers' bracket final — to clinch a berth in the NAIA national tournament — then beat regular-season RSC champion Rio Grande (Ohio) 4-2 and 3-0 to win the double-elimination tourney.
In the win over Point Park, Emily Weiss threw a complete-game, four-hitter in the circle while three players — Kyndyl Olds, Justice Kline and Maddie Probus — had three hits apiece for the Grenadiers.
In the first game against Rio Grande, Kaitlyn Flowers' two-out, two-run double in the top of the eighth inning forced a winner-take-all title tilt.
The deciding game was scoreless until the top of the eighth inning, when the Grenadiers plated three runs. Probus singled with one out before Baylee Krueger walked. Kline followed with a single to deep right-center field to score Probus with the winning run. Krueger later came in on a wild pitch while Kline scored on a sacrifice fly.
Becca Schoenung (12-9), who pitched all 16 innings of the championship games, retired the side in order in the eighth to secure IU Southeast's first conference tourney title since 2015.
The Grenadiers advance to the 39th annual NAIA Softball World Series. Pairings for the 40-team tourney will be announced Tuesday afternoon on the NAIA Facebook page. The opening rounds of the tournament will be May 13-15 at 10 host sites across the country.
IUS FALLS IN SEMIS
CHILLICOTHE, OHIO — Rio Grande (Ohio) outlasted IU Southeast 13-7 Saturday in the River States Conference Tournament semifinals at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Despite the loss, the Grenadiers will still advance to the NAIA national tournament thanks to their RSC regular-season title.
Saturday, Cody Maloon's three-run home run keyed a four-run bottom of the first that gave IUS an early 4-2 lead. It didn't last long, though.
The RedStorm (36-19) responded with a five-run third to take a 7-4 lead.
The Grenadiers tallied two runs in the fifth to cut it to 7-6, but Rio Grande responded with two runs in the sixth, three in the eighth and another in the ninth to seal it.
Maloon and Tyler Mills had three hits apiece to lead IU Southeast's 15-hit attack. Clay Woeste and Daniel Brescia added a pair of hits each for the Grenadiers, who stranded 13 men on base.
The opening rounds of the 45-team NAIA national tourney will be played May 13-16 at nine sites across the country. The brackets will be announced Thursday afternoon on the NAIA Facebook page.