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The Monmouth College softball team celebrated their Senior Day by clinching a spot in the Midwest Conference Tournament with a sweep over the visiting Cornell College Rams. The Scots won the first game 4-3 and then took game two 6-1 to improve to 10-4 in MWC action.
The Scots took an early lead in the second inning after a series of base hits. MyKenzie Kloess (Dupo, Illinois) started in the inning with a single, advancing to third after a hit from Allie Ramlo (Tremont, Illinois). Ramlo moved to second on a throw that tried to get Kloess at third. Both runners scored on a double off the bat of Addison Riley (Illinois City, Illinois).
Cornell halved the lead in the third after three singles, but a one-out tag at home by Biancha Luna (Monmouth, Illinois) kept the lead with the Scots. The Rams took a one run lead in the fifth after a double brought home two.
Monmouth took the lead in the sixth. Ramlo’s led off with her third hit of the game down the left-field line, and Riley followed with an infield single. A bloop single by Kendall Lewis (Cambridge, Illinois), and an RBI fielder’s choice by Madelyn Belville (Rushville, Illinois) tied the game. A wild pitch scored Riley and gave the Scots a late lead.
Anna McCarty (Buffalo, Illinois) replaced starter Jenna Pauley (Moline, Illinois) in the fifth and allowed only one hit in her two innings of relief, securing her second win of the season.
The win clinched a spot in the top four for the Scots, sending them to the MWC Tournament for the first time since 2016. Monmouth can still finish as high as second and the tournament will be held at Lake Forest on Friday and Saturday.
Jessica Pauley (Moline, Illinois) doubled in the 4th, tying her for seventh on the career doubles list for Monmouth College softball. That hit also propelled her into 17th all time in total bases.
Abby Leber (Tremont, Illinois) started on the mound for game two. She quickly tallied four strikeouts in the first four innings, surpassing 1999 graduate Sherilyn Daniels for seventh in career strikeouts. She left the game after five innings, allowing no runs on one hit.
The Scots struck first in the third inning with a leadoff home run from Lewis to right-center field. This hit marked Lewis’ team-leading second home run of the season, the first coming in an April 15th game against Eureka.
Monmouth expanded their lead with five runs in the fourth, starting with a leadoff double by Riley. A single by Calista Warmowski (Spring Grove, Illinois) advanced the baserunner to third, and Riley beat a throw home on an RBI fielder’s choice from Leber. An Olivia Riddley (Chatham, Illinois) walk loaded the bases, and Lewis tallied her second RBI of the game on a fielder’s choice that scored Warmowski. Leber crossed home on a two-out hit from Ramlo, and a hard-hit triple from Jessica Pauley cleared the bases.
Senior Rebecca Merletti (Kenosha, Wisconsin) relieved Leber in the top of the 6th for her 10th appearance of the season. The Rams scored one in the sixth after a leadoff single and stolen base put the runner in scoring position.
The Scots will travel down the road Monday to face off against the Knox College Prairie Fire at 4:30 PM. Monmouth also has a game at Illinois College to finish on Tuesday. The contest is tied 1-1 after eight innings.
***Report Courtesy of Nathan Baliva, Monmouth College***