Athletics, Featured Stories, TC

TIU Softball completes historic season

Trinity CommunicationsMay 19, 2018

For years, wins and losses had been a sore subject with the TIU Lady Trojans softball program.

From 2011-16, the program lost 84 consecutive conference games. Six of the previous 10 seasons, they had lost at least 30 games. From 2012-15, the program registered one win, two winless seasons and 90 losses.

Then the 2017-18 season dawned. A remarkable turnaround took shape.

From April 12-23, the Lady Trojans won nine consecutive games. They qualified for postseason play. Their season record was good enough to earn an at-large berth in the National Christian College Athletic Association’s World Series.

“I’ve been playing (softball) for 16 years and I have never met a more unified team,” said Emily Doomis, who plays outfield and first base. “My favorite part of the team was how scrappy we were. I’ve never seen a team play so hard for each other.”

Emily and her twin sister Alyssa are both seniors, and were members of the team in 2014-15 that won only one game.

“There’s no better way to end a career,” Alyssa Doomis said. “There is no better team than the ladies that make up this roster. Every one of them is focused and determined to make a difference, and look what we’ve done!

“The hours of work we put in as a team paid off.”

Their final record of 29-19 is the best since 2006. Their 16-6 record in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference was good enough for a third-place regular-season finish. They split four games in the conference tournament and before receiving the NCCAA invitation. They went to that World Series, in Botetourt, Virginia, as a fourth-seed.

In the first game, TIU defeated Oakland City (Indiana) University 7-1. Oakland City is an NCAA Division II school. Later that day, TIU dropped an extra-inning game to Central Baptist (Arkansas) College 6-5. Their final loss, a 1-0 setback to conference rival Judson, came on a late-inning solo home run.

“They fought so hard against some tremendous softball teams,” Co-Head Coach Kent Szarabajka said. “They fought every pitch, and they held themselves accountable to each other.”

Szarabajka said Oakland City and Central Baptist are both excellent softball teams, and conference play in the CCAC each year is challenging.

“You can have the best 22 players in the country and not win,” Szarabajka said. “This group played their hearts out for each other. They never gave up.”

Szarabajka, in his third year at TIU, was named CCAC Coach of the Year, headlining a host of postseason honors for the team. Second-baseman Lauren Neveau was named CCAC Freshman of the Year, and won First-Team All-Conference honors along with sophomore shortstop/outfielder Payton Carli.

Carli, Neveau, and pitcher Taylor Carli were all named to the NCCAA North Central All-Region team. Taylor Carli and infielder Sara Grygus earned CCAC Second-Team All Conference honors.

Although Alyssa’s playing days at TIU are done, she is looking forward to next season.

“I’m proud to say I’m a softball alum of Trinity International,” Alyssa Doomis said. “I’m looking forward to watching these young ladies take it to the next level for years to come.”

Szarabajka praised Co-Head Coach Heather Logue, and assistant coaches Erik Vela and Frank Morelli, saying each is a dedicated leader who made success possible this season. He said the current recruiting class includes eight excellent prospects, seven of whom will be freshmen and an eighth who is a junior college transfer.

“This is only the start,” Szarabajka said. “Our goal for next year is to exceed what this team did.”

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