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Cathi Aradi

DIII Championship: Messiah Uses Power to Take Game Two

 With its 20th straight win, Messiah College puts itself in a solid position at the Division III national championship in Montclair, N.J. Game two of the championship saw Messiah take a 3-1 win over Ohio Northern in what proved to be a very well matched game. 

Messiah took the early lead in the bottom of the third with fundamental softball; Lauren Seneca singled down the left field to start the inning, and after being sacrifice-bunted to second, scored on an Abi Buchler single to right center. 

Ohio Northern would fight back in the top of the fifth, scoring its own run with a mix of singles and small ball. After singling to left and advancing on a sac bunt, Jackie Mangola scored on a Cortney Cash single. 

Messiah would respond an inning later, this time with the help of pure power. With one runner on after a walk, Jaclyn Merkel laced a line drive home run over the center field fence, giving Messiah the 3-1 lead. ONU would threaten in its last half-inning, but Jessica Rhoads would force a pop-up to short from all-American Liz Decima to complete the win. 

After capturing the regional title and first-game win in New Jersey, Merkel agreed, "Yeah, we're kind of liking New Jersey right now..." 

Rhoads picked up the complete game victory for Messiah, giving up one run on six hits, while Cash took the loss for the Polar Bears. Messiah moves on to face Gustavus Adolphus tomorrow at 4 p.m., while Ohio Northern will battle UT-Tyler in an elimination game at 11 a.m.