Game 1: Evangel 5, Avila 4
Record: Evangel (31-20); Avila (33-22)
Location: St. Joseph, Mo. – Heritage Park
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – It took extra innings but the Evangel softball team capped an exciting 5-4 win over Avila on Friday evening to advance to Saturday's Heart Tournament Championship game.
The Crusaders await two loser's bracket games Friday night and Saturday morning before finding out their opponent in Saturday's Championship game. The win also gives Evangel back-to-back 30 win seasons in each of head coach Jay Halbrook's first two seasons.
Evangel and Avila each matched scores in the fourth inning taking a 4-4 tie into the top of the eighth inning. Playing as the visitors in Friday's semifinal game Megan Washam led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a stolen base and then third on a wild pitch.
Kiara Carrier would single home the game-winning run in Washam just one pitch later to take a 5-4 lead. Carrier finished 2-for-4 and scored a run in the win as Washam's only hit of the game came in the eighth.
Caitlin Buckalew also finished with two hits has the bottom of the Evangel order helped drive the runs in the fourth inning.
Michaela Tolliver pitched 3.2 solid innings as she scattered six hits and was charged with just two of the four Avila runs. Tolliver earned a tough-luck no-decision as she struck out three before Kyra Parker finished the final 4.1 innings.
Parker allowed just four hits while holding Avila scoreless to earn her 17th win of the season and improve to 17-9 on the year. With the win, Parker also surpasses last year's win total and moves into seventh place for wins in a single-season.
Avila will play the winner between MidAmerica Nazarene and regular season champion Grand View with the winner moving on to face the Crusaders. Evangel swept the season series with MNU, 4-0, and split with North Division foe Grand View 1-1 during the regular season.
For the latest information on Evangel athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com.