Ferris survives a marathon

By Sandy Gholston

Katie Kraai
Ferris State University’s Katie Kraai concentrates to grab a popup in foul territory against Lewis University during the 2008 NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament in Edwardsville, Ill. (Photo/Sandy Gholston)
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – It was a marathon, but Ferris State University finally had the answer ... deep into the 15th inning in a game that evolved into a test of wills perhaps even more so than a test of skills.

Junior catcher Krystle Bailey – standing at the plate with the bases loaded – was the last of many heroes in truly a team-oriented victory in a winner’s bracket game of the 2008 NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region Tournament at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Bailey, composed and disciplined, drew a walk with the bases loaded to earn the Bulldogs (32-15) a huge 1-0 win, in 15 innings, over Lewis University to remain unbeaten and in the winner’s bracket of the regional tournament.

“It’s a real big deal for us to be able to get this win and to stay in the winner’s bracket … It was a great team win and we really came out pumped up and ready to go,” said Bailey, who batted 1-for-5 with the all-important RBI in the 15th inning. “It was nice for us to be able to come out the way we did because we had to sit out all day Thursday (due to rain and games that had to be made up) and not have the chance to play. Even with the weather and everything we all stayed pumped up.”

After 14 and a half scoreless innings, Ferris finally benefited from a golden opportunity as Lewis committed two costly errors – on Bulldog bunts – to set the stage for Ferris’ win. After sophomore second baseman Amanda Harrington dropped a sacrifice bunt moved the runners and opened up first base, the Flyers chose to use a little strategy to try and cut down a runner at the plate. With two runners already on base, Lewis pulled its outfield in and elected to intentionally walk junior pitcher Sarah Mueller, to put Bailey in the position to make the play.

Ferris’ starting catcher worked the count and drew a walk on a pitch that was called a little high to leave the Bulldogs exhilarated and Lewis angry and frustrated at the close of a grueling contest.

“I knew I had to look for a good pitch, be patient and lay off of the high stuff,” Bailey said. “When the (home plate) umpire said “ball four” I was excited and the only thing I was thinking was to make sure I touched first since I knew we had it. This is just a huge win for us to keep this going.”

The Bulldogs face Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Wayne State which remained alive in the winner’s bracket with a 2-1 win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville late on Friday.

If you have any questions, ideas or comments feel free to contact Sandy Gholston at sgholston2@netzero.com

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