Norse softball takes GLVC tournament title, 1-0

EAST PEORIA, Ill. – Sara Becker’s double in the second inning drove in Becky Napier with the game’s only run as unbeaten and top-ranked Northern Kentucky captured the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship with a 1-0 victory over Wisconsin-Parkside May 8.

Napier drew a two-out walk from Wisconsin-Parkside starter Meagan Shimkus in the bottom of the second inning to set up the only run of the game. Becker followed the walk by hitting a drive into the gap in right-center field for a double that scored Napier to give NKU a 1-0 lead.

Becker, a senior third baseman from Sycamore, Ill., went 2-for-3.

NKU (50-0) nearly added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Becker lined a two-out single to left field with runners on first and second. Wisconsin-Parkside left fielder Nichole Nellessen, however, gunned down NKU pinch-runner Michelle Logan at the plate to keep the score 1-0.

Krystal Lewallen held Wisconsin-Parkside to four hits and struck out 12 batters for NKU, which won the GLVC Tournament title for the first time. Lewallen also worked out of a jam in top of the seventh inning by striking out Katrina Homa to end the game with runners on first and third.

Lewallen upped her record this spring to 27-0. It was also the 17th shutout of the season for the junior from Crestwood, Ky.

Norse senior center fielder Stephanie Leimbach extended her hitting streak to 30 games with a bunt single in the third inning. Leimbach’s 30-game hitting streak ranks fifth all-time in NCAA Division II history, with 35 straight being the record.

NKU receives the GLVC’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament. NKU is No. 1 in the latest NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region poll, and the Norse are expected to play host to that event May 12-15 at the Frank Ignatius Grein Softball Field.

Pairings for the NCAA Division II Tournament will be announced Monday. West Virginia Wesleyan and Northwood (Mich.) have also earned automatic berths to the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament, which will be a six-team, double-elimination event.

NKU’s 50 consecutive wins are the most in collegiate softball history. The Norse are the defending NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region champions.

*Article by Sports Information