Softball - Fri, May. 9, 2008
Des Moines, Iowa - Fighting out of the loser's bracket after dropping its first game of the 2008 NAIA Region VII Softball Tournament Wednesday morning, No. 3 seed Saint Xavier University won its next four games and came within a game of reaching the NAIA Softball National Championships in Decatur, Ala., for the first time since 2004. However, despite beating No. 1 seed and No. 10 ranked Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.), 4-3, in Friday's first championship game, the Cougars could not carry the momentum into the second game and fell, 9-3. SXU ends its season with an overall record of 30-21.

Trailing 1-0 through the first four innings of game one, Saint Xavier got a huge two-RBI double from freshman leftfielder Lisa Gryczewski (Mokena, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) in the bottom of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. The Tigers took back the lead, 3-2, with two runs in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly and a RBI single. However, in the bottom of the seventh, SXU tied the game on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by freshman first baseman Courtney Murphy (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) and then got a RBI double from junior third baseman Gianna Pavone (Orland Park, Ill./St. Joseph's College) in the next at-bat to get the win in dramatic fashion. Sophomore righthander Jalyn Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) got the win on the mound for the Cougars throwing all seven innings and allowing six hits, three runs (all earned), and a walk with four strikeouts. She improved to 18-8 overall with the victory.

With the second championship game tied, 2-2, through the second inning, the Olivet Nazarene offense scored five runs over the next two innings to pull away and get the 9-3 win. Freshman centerfielder Megan Paradzinski (Munster, Ind./Munster) went 2-for-2 at the plate with a RBI, while freshman designated hitter Amy Kennedy (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac) had two hits, including a solo homer in the second inning. Senior rightie Ashley Shearer (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) took the loss (10-10 overall) on the mound for SXU. The Cougars tied the game in the second inning on Kennedy's solo shot and a RBI groundout by Gryczewski. Paradzinski posted the other RBI with a single to centerfield in the fifth inning.

Saint Xavier ends its 2008 season with an overall record of 30-21 and finished third in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) standings with a 12-6 mark. The Cougars finished runners-up in both the CCAC Tournament and the NAIA Region VII Tournament behind Olivet Nazarene.