OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – No. 16 Emporia State came from behind twice to defeat No. 21 Missouri Western 6-5 and win the MIAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon. It is the eighth MIAA tourney title for the Hornets in the last nine years.
MWSU went ahead early, scoring three runs in the top of the first. Sarah Elliott started it for the Griffons with a one-out double down the left field line. Tiffany Gillaspy then reached on a fielding error by Hornet third baseman Jessica Gragg and Keri Lorbert singled through the left side to give the Griffons a 1-0 lead. A ground out put runners at second and third and with two outs, Leah Steele struck out on a wild pitch and beat the throw to first allowing Gillaspy to score for a 2-0 lead. Taylor Anding singled to score Lorbert but Steele was thrown out trying to go first to third to end the inning.
ESU got on the board in the second as Taylor Reichard singled with one out and Gragg doubled to left center to bring a run home. Andrea Piezuch and Jessica Brewer led off the third with back-to-back singles and with two outs, Amanda Self delivered a two run double to right center to tie the game at 3-3.
Schmelzer struck out Anding to open the Griffon fourth before Maegan Roemmich reached on a throwing error by Gragg, her second error of the day. Blair Stalder connected on a home run to right to put the Griffons back on top 5-3. Kendra Gifford then hit a one-out triple in the fourth and scored on Taylor Zordel’s single to cut the lead in half.
The Hornets took the lead for good in the fifth inning.
Tricia Vogel singled with one out, Self walked and Reichard reached on an infield single to load the bases for Gragg. The freshman third baseman came through with a two-run single to left to give ESU a 6-5 lead.
The Hornets were retired in order for the first time in the game in the bottom of the sixth and Schmelzer struck out Steele to open the seventh. Gragg then robbed Anding of a hit when she snared a line drove at third for the second out. Shmelzer ended the game by striking out Roemmich to give the Hornets their first untied sweep of the MIAA regular-season and tournament championships since 2008.
Gragg was 2 for 3 with three RBI, including the game-winner. Self went 1 for 2 with two RBI and a run scored while Schmelzer won her 18th game of the year, giving up just two earned runs on eight hits with six strikeouts.