Higbie leads Roanoke to ODAC title
Pitcher ties league freshman record, picks up 24th win of year
SALEM, Va. -- Roanoke won its eighth ODAC Championship on Sunday, defeating No. 23 Bridgewater (Va.) 7-2 in the title game. The Maroons improved to 29-9 on the season, while the Eagles now own a record of 33-12. With this victoy, Roanoke earned the ODAC's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Championship.
The Maroons came out hot as they put three runs on the board in the first inning. Leona Rainey and Alea Bier both hit doubles to start the inning, then Stephanie Clark singled, plating both runners. Caitlin Manuel reached on an error, letting Clark scored off the mistake for a 3-0 lead.
Bridgewater crossed the plate once in the third as Kasey Anderson scored off a Melanie Lamb single, cutting the deficit to 3-1. But the Maroons answered in the bottom of the inning as Kelly Higbie laid down a bunt, scoring Clark from third to put the Maroons ahead 4-1.
Roanoke continued its scoring in the fourth inning as it tallied two more runs. Rainey scored off a Clark RBI single and Lowery hit an RBI single that scored Clark from third for a 6-1 advantage through four.
The Eagles continued to work to put runs on the board as Hillary Rees scored off a Sarah Heretick single, pulling back within four at 6-2. Roanoke, however, scored one more run down the stretch in the bottom of the sixth inning as Hollee Warlitner scored off a Lowery two-out RBI single.
Higbie pitched the complete game win, earning her 24th win of the season. The freshman has now tied the ODAC record for wins in a season, a mark originally set by Lynchburg's Jen Overstreet in 2004.
Rainey went 2 for 3 on the afternoon, crossing the plate twice. Clark finished the day 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBI.
Bridgewater's Anderson led the team with two hits and scored one of the team's two runs. Sarah Heretick and Lamb each went 1 for 2 with an RBI and a walk.
Roanoke had four players on the ODAC All-Tournament Team. Higbie was named the Most Outstanding Player, and was jonied by Lowery (catcher), Clark (short stop) and Rainey (center field).