Jackson, Tenn. – The Union Lady Bulldogs maintained their stronghold on the NCCAA MidEast Region as they claimed their fifth consecutive title on Wednesday at Union’s Fesmire Field. Union def. Oakland City University in a best two out of three series to take the crown. The Lady Bulldogs won the first game 1-0 in eight innings and took the second game 6-1. Union improves to 36-8 on the season and will play in next weeks NCCAA National Tournament in Marion, Indiana. The Lady Bulldogs have won the past two NCCAA National Championships.
In the third inning of the second game, Union’s freshman centerfield Holly Haycraft broke the Union record for stolen bases in a season with 38. On the season, Haycraft is 38-of-40. A native of Dyersburg, Haycraft is hitting .321 on the year with team highs in runs (33) and hits (43). She has also played a near perfect centerfield with 36 putouts, two assists, and just one error.
In game one, both teams struggle against strong pitching. Leah Gronberg of Union and Leanna Myers of Oakland City matched each others every move through out the game. Gronberg earned the win to move her to 19-4 on the season. She pitched eight innings allowing no runs on four hits while striking out nine batters. In a losing effort, Myers pitched seven innings of two hit softball. Union finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth with two hits and the game winning run. Gronberg and Crystal Surgalski each tallied two hits apiece in the game, and that was Union’s offensive output. In the bottom of the eight, Gronberg led off with a hit follow by the game-winning RBI double by Surgalski with the games one RBI.
In game two, Union jumped out early with one run in the bottom of the first and then three more in the bottom of the third. Christina Johnson’s two-RBI double provided the damage in the third. Amanda Dixon and Jessica Kee each drove in a run in the bottom of the sixth inning increase Union’s lead to five runs. Kosco pitched seven innings giving up just one run on four hits while striking out four Oakland City hitters. Kosco improved her record to 17-4 on the season with a 0.61 ERA.
The NCCAA National Tournament is Thursday and Friday, April 24 and 25 in Marion, Indiana. Union will also be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming TranSouth Conference Tournament April 29 through May 2 in Henderson, Tennessee.