Marlins Eliminated from NCAA Play

Marlins Eliminated from NCAA Play

SALISBURY, Md. --- Virginia Wesleyan College was eliminated from the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament in its regional action at Salisbury University last week.  The Marlins fell to Christopher Newport, 8-6, in the first round on Thursday.  The following day, Kean University out-slugged VWC, 13-5, in five innings.

The NCAA Tournament continues this week and into next weekend with the national championship series in Salem, Va., from May 20-24.  For more information, visit

In game one, the Captains, who dropped a doubleheader to VWC earlier this season, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Jennifer Falin (Williamsburg, Va./Bruton) ripped a double to score Kelley Foate (Richmond, Va./Deep Run) and Jessie Atkinson (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover).  Foate singled to lead off the inning and Atkinson drew a walk to set things up for Falin.

Christopher Newport tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth to open up a 4-0 lead, but Virginia Wesleyan started to spark in the bottom of the inning.  The Marlins, who played through three innings without a hit, got things started with a two-out single to left from junior Cheslie Henline (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge).  Rookie Tori Higginbotham (Glen Allen, Va./J.R. Tucker) ended the shutout with a booming two-run home run deep of the left centerfield fence.

CNU seemed to take a big step forward with a four-run surge in the fifth inning, but Virginia Wesleyan answered with three scores in the same inning.  Leanna Prather (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) led off for the Marlins with a single and moved to second when Brenae Pettit (Onancock, Va./Nandua) boarded via a Captains error.  Morgan Stephens (Culpeper, Va./Highland) ripped a single up the middle to score a run, but CNU came up with back-to-back outs to stall the Marlins.  Jaclyn Quinn (Chesapeake, Va./Hickory) kept things going for VWC when she belted a two-run single to right to pull the Marlins within an 8-5 score.

VWC shut down CNU in the top of the sixth and put the pressure on the Captains again in the bottom of the inning.  Higginbotham led off the inning with a double and the Marlins went on to load the bases.  But, the damaging hit eluded the Marlins.

CNU managed only a hit in the top of the seventh and endured another challenge by VWC.  Brianna Bertovich (Richmond, Va./Monacan) led off with a single and the Marlins eventually loaded the bases on a Henline single and walk to Higginbotham.  With bases loaded and two outs, rookie Andrew Shannon (Newville, Pa./Big Spring) hit a sacrifice fly to right to send in a runner and cut the lead to 8-6.  But, that's where it ended for Virginia Wesleyan as the Captains came up with the third out to end the game.

CNU finished with a 10-8 edge in hits, led by Chelsea Mitchell (Mechanicsville, Va./Lee-Davis) with two.  Higginbotham and Henline both had two hits for Virginia Wesleyan.

Whitney Haller (Chester, Va./Cosby) took the pitching win for the Captains, improving to 17-4.  She struck out four and allowed two walks and seven hits. Krista Townsend (Midlothian, Va./Midlothian) earned the save.

MacKenzie Creech (Hillsborough, N.C./Orange)
 tossed in 4.2 innings for VWC, striking out two, walking five and giving up nin hits.  Chrissy Crawford (Norfolk, Va./Granby) pitching the final 2.1 innings and shut down the Captains, striking out three, walking one and allowing just one hit.

In VWC's second round contest, the Marlins posted a 3-0 lead over New Jersey's Kean University in the NCAA Division III regional tournament, but the Cougars wiped it out in one inning and kept the bats hot en route to a 13-5 victory that ousted VWC from the event.

Kean (17-26), the two-time defending champion of the New Jersey Athletic Conference, connected for four hits, and took advantage of a VWC error in the bottom of the second inning, to score four runs that erased the Marlins' lead.

Virginia Wesleyan (29-11), the champion of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, scored three runs in the top of the first, with the big blast coming off the bat of Quinn.  She belted a two-run homer over the left field fence, scoring Bertovich, who doubled in front of her.

Quinn emerged as the spotlight batter in the game, connecting for a pair of home runs in two times at bat.  She clobbered another two-run shot over the right field fence in the fourth inning, scoring Bertovich, who reached base on a wild pitch.  That homer pulled VWC within a 6-5 score.

But, the Marlins did not get any closer as Kean answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth and came up with the defensive plays to keep VWC without a run in the top of the fifth, with bases loaded.  Kean put the game away with a four-run fifth inning, belting out five hits and utilizing two Marlin errors.

Virginia Wesleyan scattered six hits in the game, led by Quinn, while Kean belted 14, led by Courtney Melchionna (Linden, N.J./Linden) and Sandra Binkiewicz (Belleville, N.J./Belleville) with three each.

Creech started in the pitching circle for VWC and faced 28 batters.  She struck out two, walked one and gave up 12 hits.  Chrissy Crawford (Norfolk, Va./Granby) finished, striking out one and allowing two hits to the four batters she faced.

Courtney Smyth (Abington, Pa./Abington) tossed for Kean and struck out four.  She walked three and allowed six hits.

This release is courtesy of the Virginia Wesleyan College sports information department.