By Al Stilley
University of Indianapolis pitcher Kenzee Smith, a former Decatur Central standout, is the Wonder Woman of the Greyhounds with her stamina that has her teammates hosting the NCAA DII Super Regional Thursday and Friday.
Smith (34-4) threw her third complete game in three days with 25 innings overall for the NCAA DII Midwest Regional title Saturday.
The No. 1 seed University of Indianapolis softball team has advanced to the NCAA DII Midwest Super Regional against No. 8 seed Grand Valley State Thursday at 1 p.m. and Friday at noon at Baumgartner Field on campus. The third game, if necessary, would be played Friday at 2:30 p.m. The series winner advances to the NCAA II Championship series in Chattanooga, Tenn., May 25-29.
Smith, the Great Lakes Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year, lived up to her honor with her stamina against Lewis in the Midwest Regional.
She came off an 11-inning complete game Friday against Lewis when she threw 183 pitches.
Saturday, the Southside product scattered six hits and allowed just one run. She kept the visiting Flyers grounded throughout the first six innings and escaped a potential jam in the seventh to claim the trophy.
“When we have Kenzee on the mound, she’s going to fight until the last pitch,” UIndy coach Melissa Frost said. “She’s a gutsy competitor. Giving her the ball, she will get the job done.”
The Greyhounds supported Smith in the bottom of the third inning. Megan Nichols and Emily O’Connor delivered back-to-back singles to take a 2-1 lead. O’Connor’s single drove in her 66th run of the season, setting a UIndy program record.
Earlier, the Greyhounds defeated No. 8 seed Hillsdale, 1-0 Thursday as Smith threw a two-hitter and struck out nine batters. UIndy’s lone run came in the third when O’Connor lifted a sacrifice fly ball to centerfield that brought Tori Angles home from third. And then Friday, Smith threw her 183-pitch game as UIndy out-lasted Lewis, 3-2 on a game-winning double by Sydnee Perry.
Smith is a 5-7 junior in her third year in the circle for the Greyhounds with a career 1.14 ERA. She helped lead Decatur Central to the Hawks’ first-ever IHSAA 4A state championship as a junior.
At UIndy, she was the NFCA DII Freshman of the Year and is a two-time All-American.
Southsider Piper Belden, a utility player, from Center Grove High School, and catcher-infielder Lexy Rees from Greenwood High School are among six seniors on the Greyhounds team.
UIndy is one win away from tying the softball program’s record for wins in a single season.
University of Indianapolis Kenzee Smith fires to home plate Saturday against Lewis as the Greyhounds claim the NCAA DII Midwest Regional championship. The Greyhounds won 2-1 and now host Grand Valley State in a best-of-three game series that begins Thursday at 1 p.m. at UIndy’s Baumgartner Stadium. Smith (34-4), a former Decatur Central standout, is the mainstay of the Greyounds pitching corps.
(UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS ATHLETICS PHOTO)