Mounds View alum earns college honor

Former Mounds View High School softball standout Taylor Daas’ play this season helped her college team reach the national tournament and she was rewarded for her efforts. Earlier this month, Daas was named first-team all-conference.

Daas, a sophomore shortstop at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, was one of four Morningside players named to the all-Great Plains Athletic Conference first team. The Mustangs played in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national tournament last week.

Daas led Morningside in four major offensive categories and was top three in five others. Her .420 batting average was 40 points higher than the second player on the team and she also led the Mustangs in hits (58), slugging percentage (.667) and on-base percentage (.515). She was second in runs scored, triples and walks and third in doubles, home runs and runs batted in.

In her two seasons at Morningside, Daas has played in the NAIA national tournament both years. This year, the Mustangs finished second in the GPAC standings and earned its NAIA berth by winning the post-season conference tournament.

Morningside won the GPAC tournament despite losing a game to top-seeded Hastings in the third round. The Mustangs opened the double-elimination tournament with wins over Dakota Wesleyan and Northwestern before falling to Hastings.

Following the loss, Morningside beat Midland in the loser’s bracket final, then needed back-to-back wins over Hastings in the finals and got them. Morningside blitzed Hastings 19-8 in the first championship game and wrapped up the GPAC title with a 10-1 win in the “if necessary” game.

Things didn’t go as well for Morningside last week at the NAIA tournament. The Mustangs, seeded fourth in the four-team regional, opened the tournament, held in Claremore, Okla., with a 17-2 loss to sixth-ranked and top-seeded Williams Baptist and dropped their second-round game 9-4 to second-seeded and 26th-ranked Central Methodist.

Morningside wasn’t ranked but did receive seven votes in the NAIA coaches poll released on May 7.

Morningside struggled from the start against Williams Baptist as the Mustangs trailed by five after the top of the first inning. Daas finished the game 0-for-2 and was also hit by a pitch.

In the loss to Central Methodist, Morningside also fell behind early but was able to stop the bleeding better than it did against Williams. Trailing 7-0 after two innings, the Mustangs tried to rally in the fourth inning. They scored four runs in that inning and Daas drove in three of them with a bases-loaded double.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

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