Marlins Power Way to 10th ODAC Championship
SALEM, Va. – The No. 1 ranked Virginia Wesleyan College softball team needed the second, and final, game Sunday to defeat Emory & Henry College to claim the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) softball championship.
The victory marks the 10th ODAC title for the Marlins, passing Roanoke College for the most all-time. The Marlins have now won four of the past five league titles, facing a different team each time. The last time Virginia Wesleyan faced Emory & Henry in the championship was also the Wasps' only other appearance in the championship, a 2-0 E&H win.
Game 1: 3-1 Emory & Henry Victory
Needing to defeat Virginia Wesleyan twice to claim the title, the Wasps rallied in the seventh inning to force a winner-take-all contest.
The Marlins were the first to get on the scoreboard as Blake Henderson led off the second inning with a solo home run to left.
That lead lasted until the final out of the seventh inning, when the Wasps put together a game-deciding rally.
Ragan Halsey led off the seventh with a single, finding herself at second base after a pair of outs. Erin Anderson extended the inning with a single to right to put runners on the corners. Caley Hodge connected on a homer to left-center to clear the bases of Halsey and Anderson for a 3-1 lead.
The Marlins got a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, but Tiffany Cole was able to end the threat.
Cole (14-5) got the win with three hits and two walks, striking out one in 4.1 innings of relief.
Hanna Hull (24-2) took the loss for the Marlins, giving up three runs in seven innings while striking out eight. She also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of doubles.
Game 2: 2-0 Virginia Wesleyan Victory
A pair of solo homers proved to be the difference in game two as all three runs on the day were scored via the long ball.
Courtney Wright (15-0) allowed just five hits in her six innings in the circle. She struck out four and walked just one. In one of her top pitching performances, Wright stranded six runners in six innings pitched. Hull picked up her third save of the year with a perfect inning of relief.
Emily Kendrick (19-8) was saddled with the loss for Emory & Henry (34-13), allowing both runs in 4.2 innings.
No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan (43-2) earned the ODAC's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The NCAA Division III Softball Selection Show will be held Monday, May 8 at 1 p.m.
Three other ODAC teams (Randolph-Macon, Lynchburg, Emory & Henry) will look to join the Marlins in the tournament field as all are ranked in the top eight in the Atlantic Region. Nineteen at-large bids will be handed out among the eight regions.
Erin Anderson, Emory & Henry
Ragan Halsey, Emory & Henry
Caley Hodge, Emory & Henry
Emily Kendrick, Emory & Henry
Makayla Carver, Guilford
Savannah Wood, Randolph-Macon
Kaylah Duplain, Virginia Wesleyan
Blake Henderson, Virginia Wesleyan
Hanna Hull, Virginia Wesleyan (MOP)
Cassetty Howerin, Virginia Wesleyan
Kiersten Richardson, Virginia Wesleyan