It would hard to write up a better script.

Millikin builds a brand new softball field, runs a perfect 14-0 record in the new park before winning the CCIW regular season. And with that comes a bonus -- hosting the conference tournament at brand new Workman Family Field.

With a split doubleheader against Carthage, the No. 2 team in the conference, on the road Saturday, Millikin earned just that. The Big Blue has the chance to celebrate back home one more time this season after beating out Carthage for the regular season title.

To get there, the Big Blue lost the first game of the doubleheader 4-0 before coming back in a big way to win the second game 12-4.

Midway through the second game, it looked like the conference might end in a tie atop the standings. Carthage was up 3-2 before the Big Blue (30-10, 14-2) took advantage of a couple of costly errors which scored three runs. Then Kailey Lyons and Marissa Padilla singled with two outs and drove in three more runs.

Millikin added three more runs in the sixth for good measure.

It helped boost Meridian grad Gracie Brookens (13-5) to another win in her freshman season. She induced 14 groundouts and allowed just one earned run.

In the first game, Millikin's bats couldn't get going. They had five hits spread out over seven innings and only had one runner advance past second. Carthage (23-13, 12-4) manufactured a couple of runs in the first inning before finding a couple of two-out solo home runs later in the game.

But with the comeback in the second game Millikin finished two games above Carthage to win its first conference title since 2011.

Lyons, the CCIW batting average leader, went 3 of 6 on the day.

Brookens and Cathy Lebryk ended the regular season with nearly identical pitching lines. Brookens went 13-5 with a 1.89 ERA and Lebryk finished 14-4 with a 2.00 ERA. 

It will be a bit of a wait before Millikin finds out how the matchups will fall. The tournament will take place Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, with other conference teams wrapping up play this week.


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