SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Oklahoma City University came back through the elimination bracket to claim its ninth national championship at the 2016 NAIA Softball World Series, presented by Security National Bank and Morningside College. The Stars (67-3) knocked off Saint Xavier (Ill.) twice, 2-0 and 5-0, to become just the fourth program in the 36 years of the event to emerge from the elimination bracket.
After falling to St. Xavier, 1-0 in a winner’s bracket meeting on May 30, Oklahoma City won five-straight World Series games including a pair of shutouts on Thursday evening over the Cougars (46-10-1). Freshman hurler Georgia Wall silenced St. Xavier's bats, twirling 14 shutout innings on the final night and taking home tournament MVP honors.
In the first championship game, the Stars were finally able to solve St. Xavier's Nicole Nonnemacher, the two-time NAIA Pitcher of the Year, in the fourth inning. A RBI double by Kyndra Holasek and a throwing error gave the Stars all the runs they would need, the first runs Nonnemacher allowed at the series. She had twirled 24 scoreless frames up until that point.
That would be all the offense OCU's Wall needed. She tossed a one-hit shutout with three strikeouts. The Marlow, Okla. native posted a 6-1 record at the series with a 0.61 earned run average, 21 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched.
Nonnemacher allowed two runs on five hits, while striking out six.
In the top of the second of game two, Leslie Miller singled Madison Ellis drove a two-run homer over the left field fence, to give Oklahoma City an early 2-0 advantage. The Stars would twice load the bases again, in the fourth and in the sixth, only to be held at bay by Nonnemacher. However, in the seventh, Leslie Miller belted a three-run insurance home run for the Stars, pushing the advantage to 5-0.
The Stars outhit the Cougars, 9-4 in the final game. Wall tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits. Nonnemacher allowed five runs on nine hits and struck out eight. The Cougars struggled to get the big hit, leaving nine runners on.
“I have been blessed with so many talented athletes, but this team was special,” said Oklahoma City head coach Phil McSpadden. “It’s not about coaching, it’s recruiting. We had team speed. We had power. I thought we were pretty solid offensively. We replaced our entire outfield and as far as pitching, we had most of the tools.”
This was St. Xavier’s seventh NAIA World Series appearance and first since 2013.
Sydney Dishman - Auburn University of Montgomery
Taylor Powell - Auburn University of Montgomery
Breena Smith - Marian University
Morgan Fogelman - Morningside College
Madison Ellis - Oklahoma City University
Jaci Smith - Oklahoma City University
Georgia Wall (MVP) - Oklahoma City University
Erika Bellinger - Webber International University
Rylee Rogers - Williams Baptist University
Sutv Meely - St. Gregory’s University
Katie Godfrey - St. Gregory’s University
Nicole Nonnemacher - Saint Xavier University
Brittany Plimmer - Saint Xavier University
Kasey Kanaga - Saint Xavier University
Caryle Avey - Simpson University
Taylor Stultz - Southeastern University
Cat Maldonado - Southeastern University
-- Courtesy of Jared Bodammer, NAIA Media Relations Assistant
-- Image courtesy of Rich Tortorelli