Five softball teams are vying for the final three spots in next week's Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association this weekend, including Hope College, despite the Flying Dutch's 4-1 and 11-7 losses at Alma on Wednesday.
The 14th-ranked Flying Dutch are in third place with a 9-5 league record. Hope (23-8 overall) finishes the regular season at fourth-place Adrian (16-18, 8-6) on Saturday.
Second-place Calvin has four games remaining: at seventh-place Olivet Friday and at fifth-place Trine Saturday.
Alma (21-12 overall) is tied for fifth with Trine. The Scots host Albion on Friday.
In Game 1 against Alma, the Flying Dutch took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first off a run-scoring hit from second baseman Sierra Mutscher of Wayland, Michigan (Wayland HS).
The Scots answered with a three-run Mary Brooks homer in the fifth. Alma stranded 10 Hope runners on base.
Catcher Hayley Reitsma of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Grand Rapids Christian) recorded a triple and a double. It was her team-leading fifth triple of the season.
In Game 2, the Flying Dutch rallied to tie the score at 7-7 with a two-run fourth and a three-run fifth.
Mutschler slugged a two-run homer in the fifth — joining Reitsma for the single-season school record with her 11th of the season and extending her career school record to 26.
First baseman Sarah Jones of Norton Shores, Michigan (Mona Shores) came home with the tying run on a wild pitch.
The game went extra innings. Alma erupted for four runs in the top of the eighth.