March 15, 2012

Softball dishes out convincing win over Dutch National Team

TAMPA, Fla. -- A day before it starts its next tournament -- the USF Under Armour Showcase -- the Northern Colorado softball team sent a message to the rest of the field with a dominating 9-1 victory over the Dutch National Team on Thursday.

With the win the Bears (9-11) snapped a five-game losing streak and gave the team such confidence even though the result isn't reflected in the Bears' record.

The Bears also were also able to hand the Dutch squad, a team that has wins against Rutgers, Canisius and South Florida, its first loss in 13 games.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect about the win though was the Bears got the job done in dominating fashion -- finishing off the Dutch in just five innings.

"It's not like we've been playing bad lately," Northern Colorado coach Mark Montgomery said. "We've just had a couple tough losses but we've still been playing well and improving.

"It's always an honor to play a national team and I thought we just played great all-around today. We had quality at-bats throughout the game and Kelci (Cheney) pitched great for the second game in a row."

Freshman Kelci Cheney had one of her strongest performances of her Northern Colorado career -- throwing a complete-game for the Bears. The freshman held a team that lost to nationally-ranked Tennessee by one run twice this season to just one run on five hits. She also managed to strike out two batters and gave up just one walk.

The one run the Dutch did score came off a leadoff homerun in the top of the fourth inning.

On offense, the Bears got out of the gate fast in the first inning as each of the first four batters reached base. In the first, the Bears scored three runs with the final two coming after Lindsey Smith reached based off an error by the Dutch pitcher.

After the Bears exploded in the first frame, both teams traded a pair of scoreless innings before the Dutch leadoff homerun in the fourth cut the Bears' lead to 3-1.

Northern Colorado didn't wait long to respond though, as the Bears blew the game wide open with a huge six run fourth inning. The offensive outburst was keyed by a couple of two-RBI hits -- a single by Alex Neely and a double by Tianalie Fa'asua. In the inning, the Bears picked up the six runs on five hits and showed some patience at the plate with three walks.

"It's exciting to beat a team as good as this Dutch squad is," Montgomery said. "I think it's really going to give us some momentum going forward and we're looking forward to the rest of the weekend here in Florida."

Northern Colorado will start the Under Armour Classic on Friday, March 16 with a pair of games against Massachusetts and Florida Gulf Coast at 12:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., respectively.