Softball - Thu, May 8, 2008
Des Moines, Iowa - Despite facing elimination and the end of its 2008 season, the No. 3 seeded Saint Xavier University softball team captured two wins Thursday in the 2008 NAIA Region VII Tournament at the Luhrs Complex in Des Moines, Iowa. The Cougars (29-20 overall) beat No. 4 seed Grand View College (Iowa), 9-1, in six innings in the first game of the day and then went on to defeat No. 2 seed Waldorf College (Iowa), 4-3, in 10 innings in the second game. SXU will face No. 1 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) in Friday's 11 a.m. championship and will need back-to-back wins against the Tigers to earn the region crown. In addition, Saint Xavier also learned that two of its players were named to the 2008 NAIA All-Region VII Softball Team in senior catcher Aly Kelley (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) and freshman first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest).

Against Grand View, sophomore righthander Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) kept the Vikings' offense in check allowing just three hits, an earned run, and three walks with four strikeouts. The victory improves her to 16-8 overall on the season. Kelley had the hot bat in the game collecting a team-best three hits, plus a run scored and a RBI. Freshman Amy Kennedy (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac) had a pinch-hit solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to spark a six-run surge that ended the game early per the eight-run lead.

Senior rightie Ashley Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) duplicated her sister's solid game one performance by throwing all 10 innings against Waldorf and scattering seven hits, three runs (one earned), and a walk with seven strikeouts. She improved to 10-9 overall with the victory. Freshman leftfielder Lisa Gryczewski (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and a RBI, while Kelley went 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI. The Cougars racked up 14 hits in the ballgame and scored the game-winning run in the 10th inning on a fielding error by the Waldorf centerfielder that scored sophomore second baseman Rebekah Ruettiger (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) from third base.

Saint Xavier (29-20 overall) advances to Friday's NAIA Region VII championship game at 11 a.m. and will face No. 1 seed Olivet Nazarene University. The Cougars will need back-to-back victories against ONU to win the region title and advance to next week's 2008 NAIA Softball National Championships in Decatur, Ala.