BY MIKE URSERY
The No. 19 Central Methodist softball Eagles advanced to the finals in the Heart of American Athletic Conference Softball Tournament, where they met the No. 17 Grand View Vikings.
CMU lost the first game against Grand View 9-5. Since it was the Eagles’ first loss, a second game was required to determine the champion in the double-elimination style tournament. Grand View won the second game 4-3
Grand View took control in Game 1 thanks to a seven-run third inning. They already had a 2-0 lead when the inning began. Thanks to six hits, an error and a hit by pitch, the Viking led 9-0. Six of those seven runs came with two outs in the inning.
CMU got three of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth. Mae Mitchell hit a three-run home run over the left field fence to make the score 9-3.
The Eagles put two more runners on the base in the inning, but weren’t able to score. Grand View led 9-3 after five innings.
Morgan Willis hit an RBI-double in the bottom of the seventh to plate two more runs for the Eagles. That was all CMU could muster in the inning. Grand View won 9-5 to force a winner-take-all game later in the day.
Grand View struck first in Game 2. They scored two runs in the top of the second to take a 2-0 lead. They added another run in the top of the third inning.
Hannah Steeby hit an RBI-single with the bases loaded to bring home a run in the bottom of the third. That cut Grand View’s lead to 3-1.
CMU still had the bases loaded with one out, and looked for an opportunity to do more damage in the inning.
Kelli Gorman hit an infield fly, and Addy Reardon struck out swinging. Grand View was able to end the threat and get out of the inning after giving up only one run.
The Vikings put up another run in the top of the fifth to extend their lead to 4-1.
Steeby cut that lead to a run with a two-run home run to make the score 4-3. That was all the offense the Eagles were able to score in the game. CMU put two runners on in the bottom of the sixth, but weren’t able to bring them in.
Grand View retired the Eagles in order in the bottom of the seventh to close out the win and the tournament.
CMU was recognized by the Heart of America Athletic Conference in the conference awards from the league office on May 2. The softball team landed nine All-Conference members, as well as the Heart Player of the Year in Hannah Steeby
Steeby, a native of St. Joesph, Mo. started off her sophomore campaign strong. She was honored by the Heart as the Player of the Year and is a second time First-Team All-Conference member, as well. On the season, she has a batting average of .388, slugging average of .914, 20 homeruns, 67 RBIs, and 11 doubles. Steeby is in the top 10 in seven different statistical categories, at the national level; first in home runs per game (.426), first in slugging percentage (.914), second in home runs (20), second in runs batted in per game (1.426), third in total runs batted in (67), fifth in total bases per game (2.702), and eighth in total bases (127). She earned the Heart Softball Player of the Week on March 5, after launching eight home runs and 21 RBIs during the week. She is also currently two homeruns away from tying the program’s single season home run record, held by current assistant coach Lauren Geringer with 22 home runs.
Along with Steeby, Erin Enke and Hannah Criswell earned First-Team All-Conference honors. This is Enke’s third time on the All-Conference teams. In her final season, Enke is currently 22-3 in the circle for Central Methodist. She has a current ERA of 1.21 in 150.2 innings pitched, allowing only 26 earned runs and striking out 136 batters. She is eighth in the nation in wins with 22, ninth in opponent batting average at .169, and 10th in hits allowed per nine with 4.27. She tied her career high 13 strike outs against Graceland in early April.
In her first season catching for the Eagles, Criswell is holding a .328 batting average. She is second on the team with eight home runs and has 29 RBIs on the season. In a strong showing against Avila University on the road, she had three homers and eight RBIs in the doubleheader.
Alyson Fuemmeler, Ashley Wills, Addy Reardon, and Kelli Gorman all received Second Team All-Conference honors. Fuemmeler has a.355 batting average for one home run, 16 RBIs, and nine doubles on the season. In late April, she recorded a single, double, and triple in the series against Avila.
Wills is 17-3, while in the circle for Central Methodist, with a 3.24 ERA in 125.1 innings pitched. She has struck out 83 batters and allowed 56 earned runs. She tallied a career high 10 strike outs against Culver-Stockton this past weekend.
In her third year, Reardon earned her third Second Team All-Conference selection. She holds a .355 batting average for two home runs, 30 RBIs. She also leading the team with 15 doubles on the season. Reardon tallied a career high four RBIs against Hannibal-Lagrange back in late February.
Gorman has a batting average of .350 for seven home runs, a team’s second best 42 RBIs, 12 doubles, and two triples. She earned Heart Softball Player of the Week on February 19, as she had a batting average of .833 for one home run and three runs scored, durng the week. She marked a career high five RBIs against Missouri Valley in mid-March.
Skyler Hime (SR/Raymore, Mo.) and Morgan Willis (SO/Carrollton, Mo.) were tabbed on the Honorable Mention All-Conference team. Hime is being honored for the second time in her career on the All-Conference teams. In her final season, Hime is batting a .341 with 15 RBIs and an on base percentage of .420, as the team’s lead-off hitter. She is currently first in the nation in fielding percentage (1.000) and ninth in runs scored per game (1.178).
Wills has had a strong showing at the plate, batting a team’s second best .371. She holds six home runs, a team’s second best 42 RBIs, and 14 doubles. Willis earned Heart Softball Player of the Week on March 19 as she had a batting average of .500 for two home runs and six RBIs, during the week. She had career highs with four hits against Missouri Valley College on April 26, and four RBIs against Clarke University on May 2.
CMU qualified for an at-large bid for the NAIA National Tournament. The NAIA National Tournament Selection Show was held on May 8. Results for where CMU will go and who will be their first opponent were not available at press time.
BY MIKE URSERY