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Messiah Wins School's First Division III Championship

Messiah College freshman Jessica Rhoads had dominated all tournament long from the circle, and the Division III national championship game was no different. Rhoads gave up just two hits in the 2-0 complete game victory over Coe, giving Messiah its first national championship. 

Rhoads received all the offensive support she would need in the top of the fourth, when Jaclyn Merkel led off with a double that just failed to clear the left field fence. Coe would intentionally walk Rhoads, who was responsible for all four RBIs in Messiah's two previous wins. A sacrifice bunt by Lindsay Hall put the two runners in scoring position, and an intentional walk to Abby Bergakker loaded the bases. Lauren Seneca would drive a pitch to right center for a sacrifice fly, scoring Merkel for the game's first run. 

Messiah would receive an insurance run in the top of the seventh, courtesy of a Bergakker solo home run to center. 

Coe did not advance a runner beyond first base, as Rhoads gave up just two hits and struck out 13. 

"We were doing everything we possibly could, from stealing bases to bunts to hit-and-runs. We were trying to force them to execute, and they did," said Coe head coach Bob Timmons. 

Messiah, who entered the championship tournament as the only unranked team in the field, finishes at 43-4.

"We felt underestimated, and it motivated us. We wanted to prove what we were about, and we did," said Messiah head coach Amy Weaver.