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Published: Monday, 5/17/2004

BG wins MAC softball title

AKRON — Bowling Green State University sophomore catcher Abby Habicht picked a perfect time for her first career home run.

Habicht smacked a solo shot with two outs in the top of the sixth inning that lifted the Falcons past Miami 4-3 yesterday at Firestone Stadium to capture the Mid-American Conference softball tournament championship.

It was the third MAC softball title in Bowling Green history.

BG (34-28), under sixth-year coach Leigh Ross-Shaw, moves on to the NCAA Tournament against Oregon State (40-26) in a regional at Ann Arbor at 10 a.m. Thursday. The Falcons, the sixth seed, knocked off the top four seeds in the league tourney.

“It was like a movie,” Ross-Shaw said. “If you wrap up Hoosiers, Rudy and Remember the Titans all in one, that's what it was like. It was like a dream and we were right in the middle of it.”

BG had to defeat the No. 4-seeded RedHawks (25-26-1) twice yesterday in the double-elimination tournament. The Falcons won the first game 1-0 behind a two-hitter by Jody Johnson (14-9).

Emmy Ramsey pushed across the game's only run in the third inning with a sacrifice to score Kari Steigerwald, who had led off with a single.

Johnson struck out five in the victory.

She also took to the mound to start the second game but gave way to Liz Vrabel after allowing two runs on two hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Vrabel went the rest of the way, allowing just one run on three hits in 42/3 innings and striking out five.

BG scored one run in each of the first two innings. Ramsey singled and stole second in the first, then scored on Gina Rango's double.

In the second, Jeanine Baca doubled to drive in Jenifer Kernahan (Perrysburg), who had singled.

The RedHawks responded with two runs in the third. Vrabel hit the first batter she faced, with the bases loaded. Then Becca Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to tie it 2-2.

In the fourth, BG's Habicht singled. Pinch runner Marla Murphy advanced to second on a single by Steigerwald, then both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Megan McPherson. Murphy then scored on a passed ball.

In the fifth, the RedHawks tied it on Jacque Molinaro's RBI double.

That set up the dramatics by Habicht, who homered down the left-field line.

Vrabel set down Miami in order in its final two at-bats.

Four Falcons were named to the all-tournament team — Johnson, Rango, Habicht and Lindsay Heimrich (Anthony Wayne).



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