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Maize’s Kelsey Stewart helps Florida repeat as softball champs

Florida's Kelsey Stewart (7), who graduated from Maize High, slides safely into second base as Michigan second baseman Sierra Romero takes the throw during the second inning of the final game in the NCAA softball Women's College World Series, Wednesday in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Florida's Kelsey Stewart (7), who graduated from Maize High, slides safely into second base as Michigan second baseman Sierra Romero takes the throw during the second inning of the final game in the NCAA softball Women's College World Series, Wednesday in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) AP

OKLAHOMA CITY – Florida won its second straight national championship behind Lauren Haeger’s complete game in a 4-1 victory over Michigan on Wednesday night.

Gators second baseman Kelsey Stewart, a leadoff hitter from Maize High, went 1 for 2 with an RBI double and a stolen base. She was 3 for 8 in the best-of-3 series and hit .286 in the College World Series, hitting safely in 5 of 6 games. She finished the season hitting a team-best .435.

Haeger allowed five hits and struck out five. She reached base on all four of her plate appearances, earning most outstanding player honors.

Florida became just the third program to repeat as Women’s College World Series champion, and the first since Arizona in 2006-07.

The Gators (60-7) scored all their runs in the first two innings. Justine McLean had two hits and Taylor Schwarz knocked in two runs for Florida.

Michigan (60-8) was going for its first title since 2005. Haylie Wagner, who shut out Florida on Tuesday to keep the Wolverines alive, got the loss. Megan Betsa allowed just one hit and didn’t yield a run in four innings of relief.

Haeger singled in Stewart in the bottom of the first to give Florida a 1-0 lead. It was the first earned run against Wagner in 20 innings at the World Series. Schwarz’s single with two outs knocked in Nicole DeWitt and Haeger to make it 3-0.

Stewart doubled in the second inning to score McLean as Florida took a 4-0 lead and chased Wagner. Betsa came in and struck out two batters with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Haeger hit the first two batters in the third inning. Michigan loaded the bases with two outs before Haeger struck out Kelly Christner.

Michigan’s Tera Blanco broke Haeger’s no-hitter in the top of the fifth, and the Wolverines got on the board when Sierra Romero’s single scored Blanco.

Wagner returned to the mound in the sixth inning with her team down 4-1 and escaped a bases-loaded jam, but Michigan couldn’t get it going against Haeger.

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