Pitchers Sydney Jones and Kate Laverty combined on a four-hit shutout as the 25th-ranked Hope College softball team beat No. 16 North Central, Illinois 5-0 Friday for a spot in the Lake Forest, Illinois regional championship game.
The Flying Dutch (29-9 overall) will play on Saturday at noon Central against an opponent to be determined for a berth in next week's Super Regional.
Against North Central, Jones (9-3) started and scattered four hits over four innings. The freshman from South Lyon, Michigan (South Lyon East HS), struck out seven of the 16 batters she faced. Jones is pictured at right.
Laverty fired three inning of scoreless relief after taking over for Jones three batters into the fifth inning. The junior from Eaton Rapids, Michigan (Eaton Rapids HS), stranded two North Central runners in the fifth retired all nine batters she faced for her third save of the season, including five by strikeout.
Hope led off the game with one first, capitalizing on a one-out walk to senior leftfielder Becca Phillips of Wayland, Michigan (Wayland HS), a wild pitch and a fly out to score Phillips from third on a wild pitch.
Junior centerfielder Autumn Anderson of Dorr, Michigan (Wayland HS), led off the third on a double and scored Hope's second run on a North Central throwing error during a rundown following a failed squeeze bunt attempt.
Sophomore rightfielder Sammi Adams of Griffith, Indiana (Griffith HS), knocked home designated player Julie Sobieski of St. Charles, Illinois (St. Charles East HS), and pinch-runner Alex Knorp of Livonia, Michigan (Adlai Stevenson HS), with a single in the fourth.
Phillips singled in the seventh and eventually scored on a wild pitch for the Flying Dutch's final run.
Hope now owns a 13-10 all-time record in NCAA Tournament play.