College Softball

Kirkwood softball sweeps way to national tournament

Kirkwood's Taylor Nearad (8) is congratulated by her teammates after hitting a three run homer in the fourth inning during the NJCAA Region XI-B DII Softball Championship game at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Friday, May 5, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Kirkwood's Taylor Nearad (8) is congratulated by her teammates after hitting a three run homer in the fourth inning during the NJCAA Region XI-B DII Softball Championship game at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids on Friday, May 5, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Kirkwood gave up just one run Thursday as it rolled to a district doubleheader sweep of host Dawson (Mont.) to return to the NJCAA Division II softball tournament.

The second-ranked Eagles won the opener 10-1 in five innings, then took the nightcap 4-0 to avoid a winner-take-all game Friday.

Kirkwood (54-4) advances to the 16-team, double-elimination national tournament May 17-20 in Clinton, Miss.

Taylor Nearad blasted a three-run homer in the second inning of the opener to put Kirkwood comfortably in front, 5-0. DoniRae Mayhew added a grand slam in the fourth.

Maddie Hansen added a solo shot in the fifth inning of game two. Morgan Frost’s two-run single gave the Eagles the lead in the first.

It’s the second straight year Kirkwood swept Dawson (23-12) in the district final. The Eagles went 2-2 at the 2016 national tournament.

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