Sophomore second baseman Shaye Gauthier belted a two-run-home with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Lake Forest a 5-4 victory over visiting St. Norbert College in the championship round of the 2019 Midwest Conference Tournament on Saturday (video).
Gauthier, who was 3-for-4 in the game and 8-for-12 for the tournament, belted a 2-0 pitch over the left-center field fence. Junior catcher Sydney Wyatt, who led off the final inning with a base hit to right, scored ahead of her on the dramatic round-tripper.
St. Norbert, which staged a comeback victory of its own to eliminate Grinnell College from the double-elimination event in the morning, needed to defeat the Foresters twice to win the tournament and were nearly halfway there after pulling ahead with four runs in the top of the fourth. A two-run homer by Wyatt in the bottom of the fifth cut the lead in half and the home team closed to within one on a run-scoring single by junior first baseman Riley Frisbie in the sixth.
Junior pitcher Missy Dieckman-Meyer went the distance for the Foresters, allowing just the four fourth-inning tallies while striking out six Green Knights and uncharacteristically walking three. She worked her way out of several jams, stranding nine runners over the course of the contest.
Lake Forest is now 24-15 while St. Norbert finished the season 23-17.
Along with the MWC Tournament title comes the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which the Foresters will be participating in for the fifth time in the last six years. The sites and teams competing in next weekend's regional tournaments will be announced on the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament Selection Show, which will be released on ncaa.com at noon on Monday.