Colleges: St. Xavier softball team seeded in NAIA National Softball Championships
By Dennis Nelson For Sun-Times Media May 9, 2014 6:52PM
Katie Houlihan leads St. Xavier with a .370 average. | Chris Gbur/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 12, 2014 6:48AM
The St. Xavier softball team is one of 10 top seeds in the NAIA Softball National Championships.
The Cougars are favored to win the Lindsay Wilson Bracket, which starts Monday in Columbia, Ky. No. 8 St. Xavier (45-7-1) will face Cornerstone (25-16) in the second game of the day.
The other match-up features No. 10 Lindsey Wilson College (Kentucky) against William Penn (Iowa).
The 10 brackets nationwide feature four teams and a double-elimination format.
Earlier this year, St. Xavier beat Cornerstone 1-0 in eight innings.
Pitching and defense will be the catalysts for the Cougars, who lead the country with a .981 fielding percentage. Sisters Nicole (20-4) and Megan (22-3) Nonnemacher have been nearly unhittable for St. Xavier, which is second in the nation with a 0.97 ERA. The opposition is hitting .170 against the Cougars, who have 26 errors.
“Our strong defense is at the core of our success,” St. Xavier coach Myra Minuskin said. “We focus on it every day and have since Day 1. It is one of the few things in the game of softball that we can control.”
Offensively, Katie Houlihan (Lincoln-Way North) leads the Cougars in batting average at .370. Amanda Hainlen has 38 RBI and Mother McAuley graduate, Katie Sears has a team-best 19 steals.
“Katie Sears, Kasey Kanaga (15 steals) and Katie Houlihan (14) really set the tone with their speed,” Minuskin said.
In 2013, St. Xavier won the Portland, Ore., bracket to advance to the NAIA Softball National Championships.
Lewis advances to Sweet Sixteen
No. 46 Lewis avenged a loss to No. 22 Drury in the Great Lakes Valley Conference championship by posting a 5-0 win to capture the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship.
The win puts the Flyers (16-4) in the NCAA Division II Round of 16 for the second time in the past three seasons. The Flyers will take on No. 9 Columbus State at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
“This is a huge win for our program and a great response after the disappointment from the GLVC Tournament loss,” Lewis coach Brett Bridel said. “I thought everyone played super-tough and didn’t let down.”
Women’s Track and Field
Lewis wins GVLC title
Lewis won 10 titles and scored 197 points to capture the Great Lakes Valley Conference Outdoor Championship just two months after winning the indoor title.
This is the program’s first outdoor championship since 2003.
“It’s doubly exciting knowing we were able to win both the indoor and outdoor meets,” Lewis coach Dana Schwarting said. “I’m proud of the team and how they stuck together, because they are an amazing group.”