Valdosta State captures national title
Hadley, Albritton lead top-ranked Blazers past UC San Diego
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Valdosta State is the 2012 NCAA Division II National Champions after an impressive 4-1 victory against defending champion UC San Diego. The championship is Valdosta State's sixth overall title and first in softball. The win also marks the first softball national championship for the Gulf South Conference.
The championship game started with a bang for Valdosta State as freshman Courtney Albritton lifted a leadoff solo home run over the left-field fence in her first at bat of the game. With the early 1-0 lead the Blazers played strong defense, only allowing one run to UC San Diego. That run came in the fifth inning and was unearned on an illegal pitch.
|DII SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP|
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|Brackets: Interactive | Printable|
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The tournament's Most Outstanding Player Alanna Hadley struck five out in the game and fought through three illegal pitch calls. She gave up three walks, just three hits and a run.
Valdosta State, meanwhile, added three more runs in the game, the first of which came in the fourth. Marti Littlefield singled and was replaced by Fran Johnson to pinch run. She moved to second on a Natalia Morozova sacrifice bunt and third on a single. Sarah Vaughn allowed Johnson to score when she hit a ball the UC San Diego right fielder couldn't handle.
In the sixth inning, VSU notched two more insurance runs. Morozova led the inning with a walk followed by a crafty single bunt from Ashley Steinhilber. Both runners scored on a single from Clare Wamsley.
With the 4-1 lead, the Blazers looked for just three outs in the seventh. The final out was an unassisted play at third base by Samantha Posey.
Five Blazers were named to the National Championship All-Tournament team: Hadley, Posey, Morozova, Albritton and Morgan Johnson with Hadley taking home Most Outstanding Player honors.