Oregon Tech comes back to win pool opener

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KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — A first inning home run put Madonna up early, but slowly Oregon Tech’s Taylor Schmidt took control with her pitching plus belted a solo home run as the Owls were victorious 5-2 at the NAIA Softball National Championship.

The big bang was Janelle Cromie’s sixth inning home run that gave Oregon Tech a 3-2 lead in Thursday’s Pool G opening contest. It was Cromie’s 11th homer this season.

The Owls had a plethora of hits and at one point retired 12 batters in a row defensively, but still couldn’t seem to break through.

That’s when Cromie sent a for-sure homer over the left field fence. The Owls ended up plating two more runs in the inning when Shauna Collins hit in Ashley Sfetku, who was pinch running for Melissa Logan who singled earlier. Then, Jess Plummer struck a single to left field to score Collins.

Finally, Madonna (33-13) made an overdue pitching change, bringing in freshman stud Angela Pavilanis who got the final out of the inning.

Schmidt claimed the victory, her 26th this season, which set a new Oregon Tech (40-7) record. She surpassed 2011 stud Jackie Imhoff for the most all-time in a single season by an OIT pitcher in school history.

OIT outhit Madonna 13-4 and added two more home runs to their fifth-best national total.

The Owls will now play St. Gregory’s (Okla.) on Friday at 9:30 a.m. (960 the Sports Legend), looking to remain perfect in pool play. Madonna plays Shorter (Ga.) at 3 p.m. Pacific Time.