by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College softball team is bidding for back-to-back Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament titles this week in Angola, Indiana.
The Flying Dutch are seeded third for the double-elimination tournament hosted by Trine University.
Hope (23-11) will open on Friday, May 3 with a first-round game against second-seeded Calvin College at 11 a.m.
In Friday's second game, Trine plays fourth-seeded Saint Mary's at 1 p.m. Game 1 and Game 2 losing teams then will play an elimination game scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Game 1 and Game 2 winners then square off at 5:30 p.m. for a spot in the championship round.
The tournament champion receives the MIAA's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The field is announced on Monday, May 6 at 1 p.m.
Hope claimed last season's MIAA Tournament at Saint Mary's College. The Flying Dutch also previously won in 2006, 1996, 1995, 1992 and 1991.
All-time, Hope is 42-39 in MIAA Tournament games.
The Flying Dutch are led by All-MIAA First Team shortstop Savannah Dixon of Niles, Michigan (Edwardsburg HS), who is batting .424 this season. She has tied the team school record with 47 runs batted in - equaling Andrea Adams (2006).