Softball - Sat, May 3, 2008
Bourbonnais, Ill. - Despite four home runs on the day by senior catcher and 2008 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Softball Player of the Year Aly Kelley (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley), No. 3 seeded Saint Xavier University could not match the offensive pace of No. 1 seed and No. 10 ranked Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) dropping two games Saturday afternoon and finishing as the runner-up in the 2008 CCAC Softball Tournament at Tiger Field in Bourbonnais, Ill. ONU jumped out to a 4-0 lead early en route to a 10-1 victory in game one and then went on to claim the tourney title with a 13-8 win in the second game. Kelley, who was named the 2008 CCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player (MVP) following the championship, tied a NAIA national record in the second game of the day by recording three home runs.
In the first of the two championship games Saturday, the Cougars were limited to just six hits behind a solid pitching performance by Tiger senior pitcher Lauren Chessum, who improved to 28-2 on the year with the victory. Kelley led Saint Xavier with two hits, including a solo homer in the bottom of the second inning. Errors hurt the Cougars as well with three miscues helping lead to five unearned runs for the Tigers in the ballgame. Olivet racked up 13 hits in the game en route to its 10-run output. Senior righthander Ashley Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) took the loss for SXU falling to 8-9 overall on the season.
The day's second game was filled with plenty of offense as both team's combined for 25 hits and 21 runs scored. Kelley was remarkable at the plate going a perfect 4-for-4 with three homers and six RBI. Freshman first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) also had a hot bat with three hits, including two doubles, and three runs scored. Sophomore second baseman Rebekah Ruettiger (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) notched a solo home run as well for SXU in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sophomore rightie Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) got the loss on the mound for the Cougars and fell to 15-7 overall. In addition to Kelley claiming tournament MVP honors, Murphy, Ruettiger, and junior third baseman Gianna Pavone (Orland Park, Ill./St. Joseph's College) all received spots on the 2008 CCAC Softball All-Tournament Team.
Saint Xavier (26-19 overall/12-6 CCAC) has earned the No. 3 seed in this week's 2008 NAIA Region VII Softball Tournament, which begins on Wednesday, May 7, in Des Moines, Iowa. The Cougars will open the event at 9 a.m. Wednesday facing No. 6 seed William Penn University (Iowa) in the six-team, double-elimination event.