CMU loses to Columbia College in Fayette Bracket final

BY MIKE URSERY
SPORTS EDITOR
The No. 18 Central Methodist softball Eagles (43-12) saw their season come to an end at the Fayette Bracket final on May 16.
The Fayette Bracket was held at Cox Softball Complex May 14-16. CMU was selected as a host for the 2018 NAIA Softball Championship. The Eagles played host to the Columbia College Cougars, the Hope International Royals and the Dickinson State Blue Hawks.
The Eagles were the No. 2 seed in the Fayette Bracket. They played the bracket’s opening game against No. 3 seed Columbia College.
CMU fell behind 8-1 against the Cougars, but began to chip away at that lead. They went ahead thanks to a grand slam by Addy Reardon in the bottom of the fifth inning. That put the Eagles ahead 9-8. They added another run in the inning, and went into the sixth with a 10-8 lead.
The score was 10-9 with two outs in the top of the seventh inning when the game was called due to lightning. A storm moved into Fayette, and the game was placed on hold until May 15.
The game resumed at noon that day. Columbia had runners at first and third with two outs. They scored five runs to take a 14-10 lead before their half of the inning ended.
The Eagles were able to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but left the bases loaded. Their loss set up an elimination game against Dickinson State.
CMU defeated the Blue Hawks 5-1 to stay alive in the Fayette Bracket. Ashley Wills allowed just one run on five hits over seven innings.
CMU scored two runs in the first inning. One came on a sacrifice fly by Kelli Gorman. The second run happened when Hannah Criswell scored on an error.
Gorman hit a solo home run in the third inning to extend the lead to 3-0. The Eagles added a pair of insurance runs later in the game.
The win set up a game against No. 1 seed Hope International, who lost to Columbia College in the semifinals. It was an elimination game for both CMU and the Royals.
The Royals were eliminated from the Fayette bracket after CMU won the game 4-2. Wills pitched six-and-two-thirds innings, allowing only two runs. She earned her 20th win of the season.
Hope International scored a run in the bottom of the first to take an early 1-0 lead. That lead was erased in the top of the third inning.
Criswell hit an RBI-single to left-center field that allowed Mae Mitchell to score from second base. The score was 1-1 after three innings.
Gorman hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning, and Reardon scored on an error to put CMU in front 3-1.
The win over Hope International sent CMU into the finals against Columbia College. The Eagles needed two wins to win the Fayette Bracket. Instead, they lost 9-0 in the first game.
The Cougars went ahead 7-0 after the first three innings. They scored two more runs in the sixth inning to make the score 9-0. The game was called after the end of the sixth.
CMU finished the season with 43-12, and had a 28-6 record in the Heart of America Atheltic Conference, winning the South Division.

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