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Cathi Aradi

Day 2 Notes - NCAA Division II Women's Softball Championship, Thursday, May 21, 1999

Game Five (Elimination Game) -- California (PA) 7, Merrimack 0

Traci Watts pitched a two-hit shutout and Carlee Yaquinto's three-run homer capped a five-run sixth inning as two-time defending champion California (PA) remained alive in the tournament. Watts helped her own cause with an RBI-single in the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie. On the mound, Watts retired the first 13 batters before allowing singles in the fifth and seventh innings. Merrimack, which finished fourth at last year's finals, is eliminated from the tournament.

Records:

California: 38-17

Merrimack: 42-6

Win: Traci Watts (7-0)

Loss: Jennifer Connolly (30-5)

Game Six (Elimination Game) -- North Dakota State 4, Ferris State 3

Michelle Wiest drove in two runs and Shelly Rhein's solo home run in the fifth inning proved to be the game-winner as North Dakota State withstood a late Ferris State rally. Wiest singled home a run in the second inning, then hit an RBI-double in a two-run fourth inning. Rhein's homer in the bottom of the fifth gave NDSU a 4-0 lead. In the top of the sixth, Jennifer Colvin's two-run single capped a three-run rally as Ferris State pulled within a run. Ferris State put runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh, but NDSU pitcher Julie Fromm recorded her 11th strikeout of the game to seal the win. Ferris State, last year's third-place finisher, is eliminated from this year's finals.

Records:

North Dakota State: 53-11

Ferris State: 46-18

Win: Julie Fromm (35-7)

Loss: Brandy Coe (16-9)

Game Seven -- Nebraska-Kearney 4, Kennesaw State 3 (8 innings)

Terrisa Eckmann's two-out RBI-single in the top of the eighth broke a 3-3 tie and relief pitcher Tina McCaslin retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth as Nebraska-Kearney remained unbeaten in the finals. Kennesaw State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Kathy Le doubled and scored to lead off the first inning and Audra Thomas hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the third. Nebraska-Kearney came back with a two-out rally in the top of the fifth as Kelly Moats hit a solo home run, and after a walk to Eckmann, Becky Sintek hit a two-run homer to give UNK a 3-2 lead. Kennesaw State was down to its final out in the bottom of the seventh, but Le sent the game into extra innings with a solo homer over the right field fence. Holly Waller led off the eighth with a single and pinch-runner Erin Perry advanced to third on a sacrifice and a ground out before scoring the game-winner.

Records:

Nebraska-Kearney: 38-2

Kennesaw State: 51-6

Win: Tina McCaslin (15-2)

Loss: Lacey Gardner (24-3)

Game Eight -- Humboldt State 4, Alabama-Huntsville 2

Jamie Peterson collected three hits and Taiisha Pleasant hit a two-run homer, as Humboldt State survived a late rally. RBI-singles in the first inning by Megan Keesling and Shelli Maher gave Humboldt State an early 2-0 lead. Tracy Porter's solo home run in the top of the third pulled UAH within one before Pleasant extended HSU's lead with her two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth. Alabama-Huntsville had eight of its 10 hits in the final three innings, but was able to score only one run. UAH loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, but the Humboldt State pitcher induced a short flyout to end the game. UAH finished with 10 runners left on base.

Records:

Humboldt State: 52-7-1

Alabama-Huntsville: 61-11

Win: Jessame Kendall (31-3)

Loss: Lane Davis (14-4)

Kennesaw State's Le "En Fuego": Kennesaw State senior third baseman Kathy Le is having a career at this year's national finals. Through two games, Le is 6-for-8 (.750) with two home runs, five runs batted in and four runs scored. The KSU leadoff hitter homered and doubled in her first at-bat in Kennesaw State's first two games at the finals.

No. 9 Spot Proving Lethal: Players hitting ninth in the lineup have proven to be dangerous in this year's championship. California's Carlee Yaquinto went 2-for-3 with four runs batted in against Merrimack Saturday, including a game-breaking three-run homer. North Dakota State's Michelle Wiest went 3-for-3 with two RBI against Ferris State and tied a Division II championship single-game record with two doubles.

Home Run Race: Through two days, there have been 16 home runs in eight games. Kennesaw State leads the way with five home runs, followed by Nebraska-Kearney with four homers. Individually, Kennesaw State's Kathy Le and Audra Thomas are on top with two home runs apiece.

Quotes of the Day:

"As long as they hit, win or lose, it's tolerable for the coaching staff." -- California head coach Rick Bertagnolli

"It seemed like nothing gelled for us." -- Merrimack shortstop Stacey Dell'Anno

"The worst that will happen is we finish tied for fifth and I'm sure there are a lot of teams that would trade places with us." -- North Dakota State head coach Mitch Hanson

"Everyone at this tournament is a winner." -- Ferris State head coach Keri Becker

"I've been waiting for my chance. I felt confident I could do it." -- Nebraska-Kearney pitcher Tina McCaslin.

"I think the fans got every nickel of their admission price. That was a great game." -- Kennesaw State head coach Scott Whitlock

"I was on pins and needles in the first inning." -- Humboldt State head coach Frank Cheek, when asked if he was nervous during Alabama-Huntsville's threats in the last three innings.

"At this kind of tournament, you can't leave 10 runners on base." -- Alabama-Huntsville head coach Les Steudeman.

Saturday's Schedule (all times Eastern)

Noon: North Dakota State vs. Kennesaw State (elimination game)

2:30 p.m.: Alabama-Huntsville vs. California (elimination game)

6 p.m.: Nebraska-Kearney vs. Humboldt State