HOBART | For the first five innings in its tilt with Hobart on Monday evening, Munster saw a different team than the one it beat 15-5 back on April 22.
Down 1-0 going into the sixth, Times No. 8 Munster needed a spark and its top two hitters, Taylor Michalski and Katie Gloff, provided it.
Michalski led off the inning with a single, advanced to third on Gloff's base hit, and scored on an errant throw to third, which helped the visiting Mustangs prevail over Hobart 3-1 to clinch the Northwest Crossroads Conference title outright.
"(Hobart pitcher) Maddy (Adams) pitched really well and we hit a couple hard ones early, but they weren't falling," Munster coach Beth Thornburg said. "We hoped the third time through the lineup we could do some damage."
Hobart (12-10, 5-5 NCC) struck first in its half of the second when third baseman Brittany Probasco doubled, advanced to third on a Carlee Cundiff groundout, and center fielder Paige Talian drove Probasco in on a sacrifice fly.
Adams had Munster (13-8, 9-2) on the ropes until the dreaded sixth, as she retired 14 consecutive Mustangs up until the Michalski single.
She went the distance and scattered five hits, walking one and striking out three while only allowing one earned run.
But her counterpart in Munster senior Cathy Lebryk was just as effective, going the distance herself while allowing four hits and one walk.
"We won't beat ourselves typically, so if Cathy keeps teams to one run that's good," Thornburg said. "We always had confidence, but the way we started this season didn't look like we would win conference, but how far we have come to win it feels pretty good."
Hobart had some significant lineup changes as her starting second baseman Hope Messina played short, the normal left fielder Chloe Fleming played second, amongst others and according to coach Katrina Lucas, her team was much more focused.
"Today was a huge difference and we've had some ups and down this season by getting some huge wins against better teams but losing to teams we should have beaten," Lucas said. "We played solid defensively until the sixth, but still played pretty well overall."