VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. --- The No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan University softball team will be heading back to the NCAA Division III Championships in Oklahoma City after being crowned the Super Regional Champs Sunday morning at Marlins Park. The team downed Berry College, 7-6, in eight innings after a rain delay caused the game to be played over the course of two days. With the win the Marlins reach the 50-win mark for the second-straight season (50-2).
Saturday was a tight-knit contest with the teams tied 6-6 going into the bottom of the seventh. Berry was at the plate when rains started pouring, putting a halt to the game. Play resumed the following morning, with the Vikings needing just one run to force a game three. Berry got runners to second and third but Hanna Hull forced a ground out to send the game to extras. With second life, the Marlins did not disappoint. Beth Ford got the side going with a two out single into left field. She then stole second to put the eventual game-winning run into scoring position. That brought up Kiersten Richardson, who with two strikes on her, sent a ball up the middle into center field, allowing Ford to reach home. Hull then came back in to serve up a three batter inning that closed the game and punched the Marlins ticket to Oklahoma City.
When things started on Saturday, Berry seemed to be in control, scoring at least one run in five of the first six innings. Down 1-0 after one, the Marlins tied it up as Julia Sinnett dished a sacrifice fly deep into left that drove in Katelyn Biando.
Berry answered once again though this time plating two in the bottom of the second. Bats kept the Marlins going in the third, tying back up at three a-piece. With runners at first and second, Biando knocked a ball that tipped off the glove the Viking third basemen. The player at second ended up with the ball, overthrowing third, allowing two Marlin runners to cross freely. A Viking homer in the bottom of the frame put them up one again though.
Down 4-3 going into the fifth, the Marlins used a three-run frame to take their first lead of the afternoon. Cassetty Howerin led the side off with a walk and proceeded to steal second. Runners were then placed at the corners with a single from Biando. That brought up Amy Large, who clubbed one through the right side, scoring Howerin and placing runners again at the corners. Teresa Cardamone then earned a base-on-balls to load the bags and Ford used a single through the left side to increase the lead to 6-4. The Vikings would force the issue though with a single run through the next two frames, with the final run coming right before the rain delay.
Hull had perhaps one of her longest outings of her career, going the full 8.0 innings and tossing 185 pitches. The sophomore produced 11 punch outs as she improved her record to 35-2 on the season.
At the conclusion of the Super Regional, Hull was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher while Ford was credited with Most Outstanding Player honors.
--- This release is courtesy of the Virginia Wesleyan University sports information department. ---