Rams' tourney run ends in MWC title game
News Photo
Softball - Sat, May 6, 2017

DE PERE, Wis. – Cornell's quest for a Midwest Conference Softball Tournament title was stopped short by top-seeded host St. Norbert, 6-4, in the first championship game Saturday afternoon at Miron Construction Field.

The Rams eliminated three-time defending MWC champion Lake Forest, 9-4, in Saturday's opening contest. But second-seeded Cornell couldn't get over the hump against St. Norbert, which beat the Rams for the fourth time this season.

The Green Knights (21-14) received the MWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. 

Cornell (28-10 overall), ranked No. 8 in the Great Lakes Region, closed a banner-filled campaign with the second-most wins in program history. Saturday also marked the end of an era for Cornell's all-time winningest softball coach in Shanda Ness, who fashioned a 236-167-1 record in 11 seasons on the Hilltop.

Ness guided the Rams to their seventh consecutive 20-win season and third postseason appearance in five years. Cornell had never won more than 18 games in a season prior to her arrival in 2007.

Trailing 6-0 in the championship game, the Rams didn't go down without a fight. Cornell rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh and had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.

Tana Kemmer (SR/Phoenix, Ariz.) doubled home two runs, followed by an RBI single from Stephanie Xavier (JR/Aurora, Colo.) and a run-scoring groundout by Carley Robison (FR/Brighton, Colo.) that pulled the Rams within 6-4 with a runner at third and one out.

The Green Knights escaped, making a diving catch in left-center field off a line drive by Kat Edmond (FR/Skokie, Ill.) to finish the game.    

Kemmer went 3-for-3 with a run and two RBIs to pace the Rams, who outhit the home team 9-8. Sabrina Calabrese (FR/Naperville, Ill.) and Xavier chipped in two hits apiece.

Cornell's all-time pitching wins leader Jesse Applehans (SR/Highlands Ranch, Colo.) (10-6) was dealt the loss against St. Norbert, although earlier in the day helped propel the Rams into the championship with a complete-game three-hitter against Lake Forest. The senior gave up four runs over the first two innings, but then shut down the Foresters (22-16) the rest of the way.

Kemmer's RBI single in the third gave the Rams a 5-4 lead they wouldn't relinquish. She drove in another during Cornell's three-run fifth and finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs.

Calabrese tallied three hits and scored four times. Xavier, Robison and Edmond each had an RBI.

2017 MWC Softball Tournament
May 5-6, De Pere, Wis.
Saturday's results
Game 5 – Cornell 9, Lake Forest 4
Game 6 – St. Norbert 6, Cornell 4

Friday's results
Game 1 – Cornell 1, Illinois College 0
Game 2 – St. Norbert 4, Lake Forest 3
Game 3 – Lake Forest 7, Illinois College 2
Game 4 – St. Norbert 7, Cornell 3 (8 inn.)

Final - Softball1234567RHE
Cornell College (28-9)12203019110
Lake Forest College (22-16)2200000433
De Pere, Wis. Miron Constr. Field
Cornell CollegePitchingLake Forest College
Jesse ApplehansWinner-
-Loser Jenny McTague
-Save-
Cornell CollegeIndv. StatsLake Forest College
#4 Sabrina CalabreseDoubles None
NoneTriples #32 Alyssa Grimm
NoneHome Runs None
Final - Softball1234567RHE
Cornell College (28-10)0000004490
St. Norbert College (21-14)220011X682
De Pere, Wis. Miron Constr. Field
Cornell CollegePitchingSt. Norbert College
-Winner Sydney Pfotenhauer
Jesse ApplehansLoser-
-Save-
Cornell CollegeIndv. StatsSt. Norbert College
#3 Tana KemmerDoubles #18 Tia Danforth
NoneTriples None
NoneHome Runs None