Mandy Jens' two-out single in the bottom of the seventh scored pinch runner Jill Pirkl with the winning run as Central defeated _Ithaca, 1-0. Pirkl, who was sacrificed to second by Stef Miller, was running for catcher Annie Van Wetzinga, who led off the inning with a single. Winning pitcher Libby Hysell came on in relief of starter April Miller in the seventh inning after Miller had limited Ithaca to two hits while walking one and striking out six in the first six frames. Ithaca pitcher Abigail Hanrahan had given up just one hit, Molly Parrott's third-inning single, through six innings. Central's next game will be tomorrow at 4 p.m. CDT against the winner of the Roanoke-North Central game. Ithaca drops to the elimination bracket for an 11 a.m. contest tomorrow against the Roanoke-North Central loser.
CENTRAL CATCHER AND CLEANUP HITTER ANNIE VAN WETZINGA on her leadoff single in the seventh inning: "I was just trying to get a walk or a hit, anything to get something started. I knew there'd be a pinch_runner for me if I got on. I just wanted to do something to give us a chance."
VAN WETZINGA on the fact that Central's last four games have been won in the team's final at bat: "We like the dramatics. It _keeps our fans on their toes, though it's probably not too good for some of the older ones."
Roanoke scored all its runs in the first three innings and defeated North Central 8-0 in a game halted after 4 1/2 innings by the eight-_run rule. Roanoke scored two runs on a wild pitch in the first inning and increased the damage with a four-run second inning, highlighted by BRI doubles by Rachel Capozzi and Crystal Hileman. Roanoke pitcher Amy Layman gave up just one hit, a fourth-inning double by Tara Coleman. Roanoke's next game will be tomorrow at 4 p.m. in the winner's bracket semifinals against Central. North Central takes on Ithaca at 11 a.m. in a loser's bracket contest.
ROANOKE PITCHER AMY LAYMAN on pitching with a big early lead: "It's always easier to pitch if you have a cushion. If we get just one run on the board, I feel like we'll be okay. I work well under pressure, but I'd prefer not to."
ROANOKE COACH ALAN BAYSE on tomorrow's opponent, Central College: "I saw them play in the first game and was tremendously impressed. They look like a team that has no weaknesses. They'll be an excellent challenge for us."
Carla Kampschmidt was 2-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI and a run_scored to lead Muskingum to a 3-1 win over William Paterson. Kampschmidt's third-inning double scored Erin Qupio with the game's first run. After William Paterson cut Muskingum's lead to 2-1 on a double by Morgan Dunlap, a single by Kim Hall and a Muskingum error, Kampschmidt led off the sixth with a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Julie Ryan's single. Despite committing four errors, Muskingum's defense was a factor in the win, twice turning double plays tu thwart Pioneer threats in each of the first two innings. William Paterson out-hit the Muskies and committed fewer errors but left seven on base. Muskingum has now won 31 straight games and has been victorious in 44 of its last 47 contests. Muskingum's next game will be at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow against the winner of tonight's St. Mary's/Wheaton game. William Paterson drops into the elimination bracket for a 1:30 p.m. contest tomorrow against the St. Mary's/Wheaton loser.
MUSKINGUM COACH DONNA NEWBERRY on the William Paterson first inning, when the Pioneers loaded the bases with one out but failed to score: "We almost lost that game in the first inning. It showed a lot of guts the way we got out of it, but that's not the way we draw it up."
MUSKINGUM'S CARLA KAMPSCHMIDT ON HER DAY and on the off-speed offerings of William Paterson pitcher Diane Naugle: "She threw a lot of off-speed and we were having trouble with it. I just tried to hit early in the count before she could get too farahead. I was just trying to relax and get a base hit."
RBI singles by Lindsey Smith (second inning) and Gina Rizzardi (third inning) and a two-run fourth inning single by Jill Hocking boosted defending national champion St. Mary's to a 4-0 first-round win over Wheaton College. St. Mary's pitcher Jennifer Gonerka advanced her record to 16-1 with a two-hit shutout, allowing only a second-inning single by Brianna Shawah and a third-inning triple by Rachael Powers. She issued no walks and struck out two. Gonerka didn't learn she was going to be the starting pitcher until about two hours before game time. Hocking, the expected starter, came down with a _touch of flu just after lunch today. She played in the game, going 1-for-3 with two RBI in the DP spot.
ST. MARY'S COACH NIKKI FENNERN on Jennifer Gonerka's winning appearance: "Our team is just as confident playing behind Jen as they are behind Jill. She's 16-1 now and has proven herself to be a great pitcher."
FENNERN ON HOCKING: "I stayed here at the park and watched games all day. The team got here at 4:00 and that's when I found out Jill had the flu. It was pretty obvious that she wasn't going to be able to pitch. It was a struggle for her to step up to the plate in the DP slot, but she did a great job."JENNIFER GONERKA on what pitches were her best: "The curve was my strongest pitch. The screwball was working well, too."
REPEAT?: Since the NCAA began sponsorship of Division III softball in 1982, only one team -- Eastern Connecticut State in 1985-86 -- has won back-to-back national championships. St. Mary's (MN), the defending national champion and current No. 1 team in the NFCA Division III_top 25, will try to become the second D-III team to repeat.
STAR-STUDDED CAST: Eight of the 15 Louisville Slugger/NFCA_First Team All-Americans will be playing this weekend. They are: Catcher Annie Van Wetzinga (Central), first baseman Laura Remia_(Ithaca), second baseman Jill D'Arcy (Wheaton), outfielder Lauren Hertzberg and utility player Diane Naugle (William Paterson), designated player Mandy Carnes (Muskingum), Utility player (pitcher/first baseman)_Jill Hocking (St. Mary's) and At-Large (pitcher) Amy Layman of Roanoke.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY...CHANGE: Of the eight teams_that competed for the Division III national championship in Eau Claire_two years ago, Only Ithaca College (NY) is in this year's field. Simpson and Chapman, who played for the national title in Eau Claire in 1999 (Simpson won), did not receive invitations to postseason play this year.