Playing its fifth game in three days, the Central College softball team was finally ousted from the Iowa Conference tournament by Simpson 4-2 Saturday.
The Dutch missed a prime scoring opportunity in the first inning then gave up two runs on a couple hits and an error in the bottom of the inning. Central’s top pitcher Kiley Lythberg started the game but was replaced by Natalie Deming in the second inning. Deming shut out the Storm for 3.2 innings allowing just two hits to go along with a walk and a strikeout. Central tied the game in the top of the sixth inning but Simpson smacked two homeruns off freshman pitcher Rhianna Fleetwood in the bottom of the sixth to get the win.
Luther earns the league’s automatic berth to the National Tournament as they beat Simpson 16-6 in the championship game. The Dutch still have high hopes of being selected to the 60 team NCAA Division III National Tournament field which will be announced Monday morning. The Dutch are ranked fourth in the latest Midwest Region rankings and last year seven teams from the Midwest Region were selected. The Dutch have played one of the nation’s most challenging schedules . That, combined with a 27-9 record against in-region opponents, weigh heavily in Central’s favor. Central has made 21 NCAA Division III tournament appearances, all in the past 24 years, including 2009.