ADRIAN, Mich. - While the Bulldogs may not be where they hoped at the beginning of the season, Adrian still has a chance to become MIAA Champions as the softball team has earned the three seed in the MIAA Tournament this week. If the Bulldogs were to pull off a couple wins in the tournament, it is likely they will play in the D-III Central Regional.
With the top four regular-season conference finishers advancing to the MIAA tournament, Adrian was able to earn the three seed after finishing the conference season with a 10-6 record, one game back of second place Alma. The Bulldogs and the Scots will meet in the first round game at 11:00 a.m. in a rematch of two teams that split in the doubleheader at Adrian.
The Bulldogs will likely start senior Kelly Eberhardt, who struggled the first time she faced Alma. In game one, the senior who owns most of the Adrian school records for pitching, went only 1.1 innings before being pulled when Alma put up five runs in the second inning. In the second half of the doubleheader with Alma, the Bulldogs pitched freshman Brooke Stewart who went five shutout innings on her way to her second victory of the season.
If Adrian plans on riding Eberhardt to an MIAA championship, they will need her to provide some of the magic she has over her career. This season, Eberhardt is 16-11 and allowing less than two earned runs a game. The all-time strikeout leader at Adrian, Eberhardt has struck out over 150 batters for the third consecutive season.
The three other seniors in the field for the Bulldogs will also be looked upon for big hits, as Sarah Hall, Maggie Hein, and Katrina Wotten have provided Adrian with some big moments this season. Hein and Hall are first and second on the team in batting average, while Wotten leads the team with six stolen bases.
In the other dugout, Alma has the option of either pitching Louise Rezmer or Samantha Pierce in the semi-final game against Adrian, as both pitchers have had impressive seasons. Rezmer has posted a 13-6 record with a 1.17 ERA, while Pierce has gone 7-1 with a 2.36 ERA.
For the other semi-final game, the regular season MIAA champion Trine will face off against St. Mary's. The Thunder went 15-1 in the MIAA this year, only falling in a 2-1 loss to Adrian in which Eberhardt pitched a complete game, giving up one run on five hits.
Andi Gasco and the Thunder are the undeniable favorites going into the tournament, as the junior pitcher has gone 18-3 with a 1.28 ERA and 149 strikeouts. Gasco is also a threat at the plate, as she leads the team with 11 home runs and 16 doubles.
If the Bulldogs were able to get past Alma in game one, they would play in the 5:30 p.m. game against the winner of the Trine/St. Mary's game. If Adrian were to fall, they would play again at 3:30 p.m. against the loser of the other semi-final. Play will continue Friday in the double-elimination tournament format.
Currently Adrian is ranked seventh in the D-III Central Region, with the top eight teams in the region advancing to the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Bulldogs have a 16-9 in-region record, but have done well against the teams they have faced within the region. Adrian has split doubleheaders with 1st place Trine, 2nd place Ohio Northern, 4th place Alma, 5th place Case Western Reserve, while beating 8th place St. Mary's twice. The D-III softball selection show will be Monday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m.