(Portions of this story courtesy of Texas Lutheran)
GEORGETOWN, Texas -- Madisyn Cates opened the game with a two-run double and closed the door with a two-run home run to power Texas Lutheran to its fifth straight conference title as the Bulldogs defeated Southwestern, 8-1, in the championship game of the 2018 SCAC Softball Tournament. Official Website l Bracket l Postgame Interview
TLU advances to the NCAA Division III Softball Championship for a fifth straight year. The Bulldogs will play at a yet-to-be-determined regional site May 10-13. TLU has finished as the regional runner-up in three of the last four seasons.
The Bulldogs (37-1), who have been ranked second in the NFCA poll for NCAA Division III for eight consecutive weeks, have won 30 consecutive games. TLU's only loss of the year came on March 4 in a 5-0 loss to No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan.
Southwestern's season ends at 23-17.
Texas Lutheran won three straight games in the conference tournament and out-scored opponents by a count of 25-1.
At Southwestern's Taylor-Sanders Field, TLU took a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning with a Madisyn Cates two-run double and a Cassie Roche single
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the second to push the lead to 5-0. TLU scored a run on a Southwestern throwing error and added a fifth run on a Kelly Jurden sacrifice fly.
After Southwestern cut the TLU lead to 5-1 in the top of the fifth, Cates homered in the bottom of the fifth. The two-run blast was her third of the season.
Skylar Ouellette closed out the Bulldogs' scoring with an RBI double in the fifth.
Cates drove in four and scored a run. Roche went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Kyla Lockley scored two runs and stole two bases.
Maitlin Raycroft, fresh off back-to-back no-hitters, won her third tournament game from the circle. The senior right-hander went four innings and allowed seven hits. She struck out six, walked three and allowed an earned run.
Raycroft improved to 19-0.
Jordaine Bishop notched the save, the first of her career, with three scoreless innings. Bishop allowed just two hits.
TLU finds out its NCAA Softball Championship regional destination on Monday, May 7. TLU is in contention to host a softball regional for the first time in school history.
- With the victory, Texas Lutheran became the first team in league history to win five consecutive SCAC softball titles. The Bulldogs had shared the former record of four with Trinity, who won four straight from 1999-2002.
- Dunn of Centenary, Copher and Longuet of Southwestern and Cates and Raycroft of Texas Lutheran are all repeat honorees on the all-tournament team.
2018 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Catcher - Kaitlyn Francis, Southwestern
First Base - Kaitlynn Copher, Southwestern
First Base - Kelsey McEachern, Texas Lutheran
Second Base - Madisyn Cates, Texas Lutheran
Shortstop - Cassie Roche, Texas Lutheran
Third Base - Kyla Lockley, Texas Lutheran
Outfield - Anna Dunn, Centenary
Outfield - Skylar Ouellette, Texas Lutheran
Outfield - Ashton Vasquez, Schreiner
Outfield - Grace Phelps, Southwestern
Utility - Wendy Gillet, Centenary
Pitcher - Maitlin Raycroft, Texas Lutheran
Pitcher - Lindsay Longuet, Southwestern