GREAT BEND — For the second straight year, Ottawa University will not be heading to the NAIA national tournament. This time, Avila University beat OU for a second time in the loser’s bracket of the KCAC Tournament, ending the Lady Brave softball season one win shy of the tournament championship game. Avila went on to fall to Friends University for the title.
Ottawa finished 3-2 in the tournament hosted in Great Bend Thursday through Saturday, and 27-20 (16-8 KCAC) on the season, capping off yet another winning season under head coach Jay Kahnt and bringing his career record to 443-362 in 18 seasons.
Ottawa lost its semifinal match to top-seeded Avila 7-6 in eight innings Friday, sending the team to the losing bracket for Saturday. The Lady Braves rattled off wins against Kansas Wesleyan 5-3, and McPherson 5-4 before running into the Lady Eagles again.
Against McPherson, Sierra Rettele hit a one-out, bases-loaded, go-ahead single in the top of the seventh that scored Hailey Crowder and Lyndsey Loomis. That put OU up 5-4 and proved to be the game-winning knock after Brave’s pitcher Brandi Cayler got the final three outs in the bottom of the frame.
The team finishes with eight postseason honorees — All-KCAC first team: Ellena Cott-Laurie, senior catcher; Second team: Brandi Cayler, freshman pitcher; Alexa Romero, senior third baseman; Sammi Bates, junior outfielder; Honorable mention: Allison Kearney, freshman shortstop; Kori Lacey, junior outfielder; Tomi-Lyn Hickman, sophomore outfielder; Gold Glove: Allison Kearney, freshman shortstop.