PELLA - The Central College softball team went 4-0 to win the NCAA Division III Pella Regional championship, finishing it off with a 2-1 win over top-seeded St. Thomas (Minn.) on Sunday.
Marshalltown High School graduates Whitney Sowers and Kallie Schive are both members of the Dutch squad, which will advance to the eight-team NCAA D-III finals for the first time since winning the national title in 2003. 16th-ranked Central (32-8) will face No. 3 Montclair State (N.J.) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wis., with a double-elimination tournament running through May 21.
Sowers, the starting third baseman for Central, scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning of Sunday's 2-1 win over St. Thomas. The Tommies tried to turn a double play and Sowers scored from second base for a 2-0 lead.
Sowers had two hits in the title game and batted .364 during Central's run to the regional title.
"It feels incredible, this is what we've been working for all year and we're finally getting there," Sowers said of the national finals berth. "This is only the beginning now."
Earlier in the week Sowers was honored with her second all-Iowa Conference second-team selection. She is batting .349 with team-highs of 44 hits and 13 doubles to go with two home runs, 27 RBIs and 30 runs scored.