by Alan Babbitt
The Hope College softball team nearly pulled out two dramatic comebacks during the MIAA Tournament on Saturday.
The Flying Dutch eliminated sixth-ranked Trine University morning with a walk-off, 4-3 victory in Angola, Indiana.
Hope (23-15) then rallied with a three-run seventh against Saint Mary's before falling, 6-4, and bowing out of the tournament.
Against Trine, catcher Morgann Kanouse of Cadillac, Michigan (Cadillac HS) homered to lead off the bottom of the ninth. It was her second homer of the season.
The game had been suspended on Friday night due to darkness.
Winning pitcher Avery Slancik of Scotts, Michigan (Vicksburg HS) came back Saturday to pitch the ninth and earn the victory.
Slancik (3-1) gave up a leadoff double but retired the next three batters on a groundout and two popouts.
Against Saint Mary's, the Flying Dutch fell behind 6-1 after a six-run sixth-inning where the Belles sent 11 batters to plate.
In its final at-bat, Hope rallied with two outs behind a two-run homer from relief pitcher Megan Soderbloom of Dowagiac, Michigan (Dowagiac) and a RBI single from third baseman Shay Pinhey of Ann Arbor, Michigan (Pioneer).
Saint Mary's, however, got a fly out to center to end the game and send them into the championship round against Calvin College.