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FHSU wins MIAA tourney, will host regional


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — It took two tries Sunday afternoon, but the Fort Hays State University softball team is the 2013 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament champion.

The Tigers fell 1-0 to in-state foe Emporia State University on Sunday, suffering their first loss of the tourney, but bounced back to win 7-4 in come-from-behind fashion to claim the program’s first MIAA tourney title, and first conference tourney title since 2003. This marks FHSU’s second all-time NCAA appearance.

Fort Hays (45-10) earned the automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Tournament. Entering the MIAA finale, the Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the Central Region. FHSU, ranked No. 15 nationally, had reached the MIAA championship game each of the last two years.

In the first game, ESU scored a run in the top of the seventh. Senior ace Maddie Holub moved to 27-2 and suffered her first loss since March 22. Holub’s two losses have come in Fort Hays’ two shutout defeats. Karley Schmelzer collected the victory for the Hornets. She allowed three hits and five walks against nine strikeouts.

In Game 2, FHSU fell down 2-0 early. Then freshman Paxton Duran held Emporia State scoreless for the next three innings. Junior Jordan Jones pitched a scoreless fifth and moved to 3-0. Schmelzer, pitching her third straight contest, dropped to 31-9 with the loss.
FHSU, which had tallied one run in the third, broke through with five runs in the fifth and one in the sixth. Freshman second baseman

Courtney Dobson singled to center for the third inning RBI and then came through in the fifth with a single to left field for the inning’s first run.

Holub and junior third baseman Danie Brinkmann delivered back-to-back RBI singles before sophomore center fielder Amanda Vaupel hit a two-run double.

The Tigers were named the top seed for the upcoming Central Region tournament at Tiger Stadium. The tourney begins Friday.

 FHSU will play Emporia State in its first game, and also will host University of Cental Oklahoma (42-11) and Minot State (40-9).