INDIANAPOLIS - Three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) softball teams will be appearing in the 2012 NCAA Division II Softball Tournament which begins this weekend.
The University of Indianapolis earned the top seed in the Midwest Region and will host Midwest Region Site 1. UIndy will host No. 4 University of Illinois-Springfield, No. 5 Northern Kentucky University and No. 8 Wayne State University.
Grand Valley State University is the No. 2 seed and will host Midwest Region Site 1. The Lakers will host No. 3 Ashland University, No. 6 Bellarmine University (Ky.) and No. 7 St. Joseph's College (Ind.).
Wayne State will face Indianapolis in the opening round on Friday (May 4) at 2:30 p.m. Ashland will square off against Bellarmine in Allendale (Mich.) at Noon on Friday, GVSU will take on St. Joe's at 2:30 p.m.
#20 (NFCA D-II poll) Grand Valley State went 3-2 last weekend at the GLIAC Tournament, defeating Northwood twice and Tiffin once to finish in third place in the tournament. Ferris State, the tournament runner-up, handed the Lakers both of their losses. Grand Valley State hit .375 as a team (compared to just .193 for its opponents) and outscored its five foes, 30-10. Sophomore shortstop Briauna Taylor (Livonia, Mich./Livonia Franklin) hit .588 (10-for-17) with a double, triple, and two home runs. She scored seven times and drove in six runs. Taylor’s 13 homers are the most in the GLIAC this season. GVSU’s 52 roundtrippers are the second-most in school history, behind last season’s 76 blasts. The Lakers’ 44 wins are the sixth-most in program history. Grand Valley State advances to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time, with every playoff appearance coming since 1999. The Lakers are 27-18 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and have advanced to five regional championship games/series (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011). It is the second year in a row that GVSU has hosted the regional tournament, going 3-0 last season in Allendale (two wins over Lewis, one over Quincy) to advance to the Midwest Super Regional against Saginaw Valley State.
Ashland learned on Monday that it will be going to the NCAA playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. Two years ago, the Eagles lost in the regional final against Wayne State. A year ago the Eagles advanced to the first weekend of postseason play…This is the ninth time AU has advanced to the postseason with Sheilah Gulas as the head coach…AU will play Bellarmine in the opening game of the regional tournament at Grand Valley State. AU went 1-1 against the Knights this season. They teams played on Feb. 25. The other teams in this half of the regional bracket are Saint Joseph’s and the host Lakers. AU did not play Saint Joseph’s and went 1-1 against GVSU…Ashland has 40 wins for the first time since 2003. The last time the Eagles won more than 40 games came in 1999 when the Eagles won 45 times…senior Emlyn Knerem (Brunswick, Ohio) is 27-5 – that win total is a school, single-season record. Knerem has 93 career wins and that is the most in school history…sophomore second baseman Cayla Seidler (Massillon, Ohio/Massillon Washington) has 17 doubles. The school, single-season record is 18…Alyssa Kelley is hitting .444. If she maintains that level, she would have the fourth highest single-season mark in school history. Kelley was named the GLIAC co-player of the year last week. She is the first Ashland player to receive that award since pitcher Natalie Pry in 1999. Pry, Kelley and outfielder Sunny Litteral are the three AU players to win the conference player of the year award.
Wayne State recorded four consecutive one-run victories to claim its first GLIAC Tournament title since 1995. The 1995 trophy concluded a streak of eight tournament titles in an 11-year span. Senior third baseman Alison Allen (Redford, Mich. / Farmington Hills Mercy) batted. 438 (7-16) during the GLIAC tournament and led the squad with 12 total bases and a .750 slugging percentage. She had a walk-off base hit against Tiffin in the bottom of the eighth, then went 4-4 in the win over Ashland driving in WSU's first two runs. Allen followed that with a 2-4 performance in winner's bracket final win over Ferris recording an RBI single in the second and a home run in the fourth. Senior shortstop Lauren Histed (Shelby Twp., Mich. / Utica) drove in two runs in the championship game win over FSU and had a 1.000 fielding percentage (13 PO, 11 A) during the league tournament. Senior pitcher Sam Cain (Taylor, Mich. / Kennedy) compiled a 3-0 record with one save and a 2.47 earned-run average. Senior first baseman Rebecca Ryan (Westland, Mich. / Dearborn Divine Child) has moved into the top seven in NCAA Division II history with 1,614 putouts. She also batted .385 (5-13) during the GLIAC tournament and tied Allen for team-high honors with five RBI.