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For the first time since 2013 the Luther College softball team has advanced to the NCAA III National Softball Championships.
This afternoon, the Norse faced the Tommies of St. Thomas heading into the final day of the Decorah, Iowa Super Regional with a one game lead in this best of three-game series.
In today's first game, St. Thomas won what turned out to be a slug fest by a final of 11-8. The two teams combined for a total of 33 hits, 17 for the Tommies and 16 for the Norse.
St. Thomas scored three runs in the first, two in both the third, fourth and seventh innings and one each in the fifth and sixth. Luther posted four runs in both the first and fourth frames.
Bailey Victoria, who was 3-for-4, hit a three-run home run in the fourth. Ashley Burrows, Addy Pender, Bailey Hocker and Paige Timmerman were all credited with one RBI. Megan Bonnett was a perfect 4-for-4.
Luther freshman pitcher Courtney Cooper (13-4) was handed the game ball for game three. Cooper allowed four runs, spread 12 hits, walked two and struck out one, as she led the Norse to a 10-4 victory and the Decorah, Iowa Super Regional title. For her efforts she was named the Super Regional Most Outstanding Pitcher.
The Norse jumped on the Tommies early, scoring three runs in both the first and second frames. The Tommies pulled to within two (6-4) scoring once in the third and three times in the fourth. Blake Banowetz, who was named the Super Regional Most Outstanding Position Player, capped off a four RBI game with a two-run home run to left field in the bottom half of the fourth. Anna Strien, who finished the game with two hits, hit a two-run shot over the right field fence in the sixth to complete the Norse scoring. Bailey Victoria also had a big game driving in three runs, two with a double in the first and had RBI bases loaded walk in the second.
Luther (40-9) will be making its eighth trip to the National Championships, its fifth under the direction of Head Coach Renae Hartl. Hartl led the Norse to fifth place finishes in 2010, 2012 and 2013 and a seventh place finish in 2011.
The Division III National Championships will be held at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 24-29.
Questions? Contact David Blanchard, post_to_results, 563-387-1586