Miranda Elish stepped up when top-seeded Oregon needed her most.
After losing its NCAA Division I softball tournament Super Regional opener to Kentucky, the Crown Point grad pitched a complete-game two-hitter for the top-seeded Ducks with seven strikeouts in Friday’s 6-1 victory over the Wildcats. In Saturday’s 11-1 five-inning victory, Elish (24-1) struck out seven to guide the Ducks (52-8) to the World Series. Oregon plays Arizona State on Thursday.
• Manchester University’s Laurren Ladwig (Lake Central) was named the program’s first National Fastpitch Coaches’ Association Division III All-American on Wednesday.
The senior slugger, who was already an all-Central Region first team pick and the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s Most Valuable Offensive Player, finished the season as the national leader in total homers (19) and home runs per game (0.5), while ranking among the top 10 in slugging percentage (1.026, third). The standout second baseman also set a new single-season mark for round trippers, while her 44 career homers are tops in school history and rank among the best in league history. Ladwig hit .460 with 46 RBIs and 23 walks, while adding nine doubles.
• Indiana Wesleyan’s Kira Madl (St. John/homeschooled) was named first team All-Crossroads League. The junior helped the Wildcats to a 49-8 regular season record and a berth into the NAIA World Series.
Madl, a junior outfielder, hit .406 and led the team with 21 doubles and added eight homers. She added 47 RBIs and 58 runs. Madl was 1-for-4 on Saturday as Indiana Wesleyan beat Faulkner, Ala. 3-2 in eight innings. It was the team’s first-ever victory at the NAIA World Series.
Crown Point native Benjamin Hynek was on Tom Brady’s stage Sunday. The Mount Carmel grad and Saint Leo (Fla.) University freshman played in the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championship at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.
It was the program’s first-ever NCAA Championship appearance. Merrimack College defeated Saint Leo 23-6. Hynek didn't score in the championship.
In Saint Leo’s stunning 12-11 semifinal victory over top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., Hynek scored the go-ahead goal and had two hard hits in the second half, one which led to the game-finishing goal for Saint Leo.
Hynek, a true freshman, played two years for Crown Point Lacrosse and earned All-Conference his sophomore year. He was also named as a Brine All-American his junior and senior years.
Hynek led the Caravan to its first Chicago Catholic League Championship in 2017, while finishing ninth in the state of Illinois with 94 points his senior year.
Women’s track and field
Indiana State’s Taylor Austin (Griffith) saw her remarkable career come to a close on Friday at the NCAA East Regional in Tampa, Florida.
The senior standout, who was trying to advance to Oregon for a second straight season, finished 14th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (only the top three advance). Austin’s tenure includes a school record in the steeplechase (9 minutes, 54.01 seconds). She was also the Missouri Valley Conference champion in the 5,000 this past season as well as the indoor MVC champ in the women’s 3,000, where she also owns the school record. She won three consecutive MVC steeplechase titles.
Men’s track and field
Marquette’s Daniel Armstrong (Michigan City) tied for 20th with a leap of 6-feet, 11 inches in the high jump at the NCAA West Regional in Sacramento, California, Saturday night. The sophomore bowed out of the competition following three misses at 7-1, which was the same height he cleared to win his second straight Big East outdoor title a couple of weeks ago.
Tulane’s Kody Hoese (Griffith) was 2-for-3 with an RBI on Thursday, but the Green Wave lost to top-seeded Houston 18-7 in the American Athletic Conference Championship.
Hoese, a sophomore, started all 58 games and hit .291 with 34 runs scored, 34 RBIs, and five homers.
• Indiana University’s Logan Kaletha (Michigan City) went 2-for-5, including a homer, but the Hoosiers (38-17) lost 5-4 to Illinois at the Big Ten tournament. IU will learn Monday if it will be going in the NCAA Regional.
• Nebraska’s Jesse Wilkening (Hanover Central) was named second team All-Big Ten. The junior catcher was second in the conference with 56 RBIs, fourth in hits (74) and fifth in total bases (117).