For the second time in two days, an Ohio Northern grand slam decided the final outcome between the Polar Bears and DePauw and this time it was Jackie Mangola who provided the blast that gave Ohio Northern a 4-1 win over the Tigers in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship first-round title game.
The top-seed and fourth ranked Polar Bears improved to 39-4 with the win and advanced to the eight-team Division III finals which begin on Friday at Montclair State. DePauw finished its season at 32-9 after making its third straight appearance in the first-round championship game.
Liz Decima started the third-inning rally with a soft pop-up to short that just went off the glove of a diving Brianne Weeks. Terry Mangola followed with a double to left and Danielle Goubeaux walked with two outs before Jackie Mangola hammered a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left.
The Tigers' lone run came in the third when Rachel MacBeth led off with a double, moved to second on Chelsy Patterson's sacrifice bunt and scored on Weeks' sacrifice fly to foul territory in left field.
In the fourth, Ashlee Anton hit a drive to right center that Ohio Northern right fielder Tina Mangola hauled in at the fence. The Tigers' other scoring opportunity came in the seventh when Gill and Anton singled but Cortney Cash struck out the last two Tiger hitters.
The Polar Bears totaled six hits as Decima led the way with two, while four different Tigers had one each. Cash improved to 28-2 and Soultz finished the season at 29-9. After the homer, Soultz retired 12 straight batters before a seventh-inning walk.
For details on the game that forced Tigers and Polar Bears to a third game check out page 8A.