Royals Win Second ODAC Softball Title
EMU Earns Automatic Bid to NCAA Tournament
SALEM, Va. --- It was in 1990 that the Royals
captured the program's first ODAC softball crown. Then known
as Eastern Mennonite College, the Royals turned a fourth-seed
showing in a field of four teams into the first ever championship
in ODAC softball history. It would be two decades and another
final seed positioning before the Royals would taste championship
Eastern Mennonite University made the 20th anniversary of the ODAC Softball Tournament feel much like the first event as the Royals topped Virginia Wesleyan College, 5-1, to claim the 2010 title and earn the ODAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament. Eighth-seeded EMU saw its record improve to 19-16 while the #3 Marlins fell to 34-9.
EMU head coach J.D. McCurdy pulled out all the stops in trying to avoid a date in the "if necessary" championship game, and the pitching duo of Lisa Lee and Nicole Wade kept VWC off-balance in leading to a victory over ODAC wins leader, Brittaney Brown (25-8).
The Royals' bats started off the game in strong fashion with two singles followed by an error by the centerfielder when a fly ball popped out of her glove in short center. Courtney Allman walked to drive in the first run, and another followed when the VWC catcher tried to complete a 1-2-3 double play, but her throw sailed into the baseline and glanced off the helmet of EMU's Sara Jenkins. Allman and Jamie Blosser later scored on a single to left by Rachel Breeden to give the Royals a 4-0 lead through one-half inning.
Virginia Wesleyan got one back in the bottom of the frame. Brenae Pettit went from first-to-third on a single to right by Jaclyn Quinn. With runners on second and third following Quinn's advancement on the throw to third, Brianna Bertovich drove in Pettit with a groundout to second.
Eastern Mennonite tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning. Lee led off the frame with her second hit of the game, a deep fly to center that eluded the grasp of Pettit in center field for a solo homer.
Virginia Wesleyan, who had been silenced over the past four innings by Wade, threatened to extend play in the bottom of the seventh. Lee, back on the mound to try to close out the contest, gave up a single to White and walked the bases loaded to bring the tying run to the plate with two outs. Wade retook the ball to face Morgan Stephens, who sent a grounder back up the middle. Wade made the quick reaction stop at her right and fired home to force White at the plate and secure the Royals' championship.
Wade picked up the win to give her three for the tournament on the way to Most Outstanding Player honors. She went 4.1 innings, giving up two hits and walking three while striking out a pair. For VWC, Brown took the loss and fell to 25-8. She allowed five runs, one earned, on eight hits. She walked two and struck out a pair.
EMU's next contest will be in the 2010 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament at one of eight regional sites across the nation. Play will start on Thursday, May 13 (eight-team sites) or Friday, May 14 (six-team sites) and will follow a double-elimination format. Filling out of sites and at-large teams will be made following the weekend of May 7-9. For more information on the national tournament and its process, visit the NCAA D-III Softball Championship website at http://www.ncaa.com/sports/w-softbl/champpage/w-softbl-div3-index.html.
Listed below is the 2010 ODAC Softball All-Tournament Team. For more information on ODAC softball, visit any of the participating schools' websites, or to go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.
2010 ODAC Softball All-Tournament Team
Pitcher: Brittaney Brown, Virginia Wesleyan
Catcher: Jaclyn Quinn, Virginia Wesleyan
1st Base: Laura Bauer, Randolph-Macon
2nd Base: Kristy White, Virginia Wesleyan
3rd Base: Paige Smith, Randolph-Macon
Shortstop: Taylor Walker, Lynchburg
Outfield: Jessica Blosser, Eastern Mennonite
Outfield: Sarah Montgomery, Randolph
Outfield: Aven Thomas, Bridgewater
Designated Player: Lisa Lee, Eastern Mennonite
Most Outstanding Player: Nicole Wade, Eastern Mennonite