NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — For the first time since 2001, Roanoke advances to the 2012 NCAA DIII Softball Championship, after defeating Christopher Newport 3-1 on Monday.
Roanoke will play Tufts in the NCAA tournament of the World Series on Friday. The last time an Old Dominion Athletic Conference team reached the World Series was in 2008 when Lynchburg advanced past regional play.
The Maroons, who won four consecutive games in the regional tournament, improve to a record of 33-9. The Captains finish their season with a record of 37-11.
Roanoke now holds a 6-5 record against Christopher Newport after defeating the Captains twice in regional play. The Captains tallied 20 runs in the first two games of the tournament, but the Maroons held them just two in two games.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Maroons took an early lead against the Captains. Stephanie Clark tripled down the right field line, scoring Alea Bier from first. After one, Roanoke led 1-0.
Christopher Newport returned the favor in the top of the third inning when Jennifer Falin hit an RBI single, plating Kelley Foate, and locking the game back up at 1-1. It didn’t take long for the Maroons to regain the lead.
In the bottom of the third, Leona Rainey led off the inning with a double to left field. Bier followed with an RBI single up the middle, scoring Rainey. After the third, the Maroons reclaimed a 2-1 lead.
Roanoke added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning. Hollee Warlitner and Stephanie each reached base to start off the inning. Felice Lowery hit a sacrifice fly ball to right field to plate Warlitner and extend the Maroon lead to two, 3-1.
In the final half inning, the Foate hit a two out double to put a runner in scoring position. However, the next batter grounded out to Katherine Kouri for the final out of the game. Roanoke won the NCAA Regional Championship by a score of 3-1.
Clark led the team, going 2-for-3 with one RBI. Rainey, Bier and Warlitner each finished the game with one hit and one run. Bier and Lowery each had one RBI as well. Clark led all batters in the tournament, hitting 9-13 for an average of .692.
Kelly Higby, named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, pitched her 33rd complete game. Higby, who holds a 28-8 record this season, gave up just one run off six hits and struck out four.