OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — One run was more than enough for the Virginia Wesleyan University pitching tandem of Courtney Wright and Hanna Hull to nail down the NCAA Division III national championship Monday afternoon.
Wright and Hull combined for a three-hit shutout while Cassetty Howerin drove in the only run as the top-ranked Marlins blanked No. 8-rated St. John Fisher College 1-0 to complete a two-game sweep in the best-of-three series at OGE Energy Field.
VWU won six pressure-packed games in a row after falling to defending champion Texas-Tyler 4-1 in the first round last Thursday and finished the season 54-3. The Cardinals ended 44-8.
Wright scattered three hits, struck out two and walked one in throwing the first five innings to earn her third win of the tournament and finish the year a perfect 18-0. Hull came on to start the sixth and fanned four with one walk in two innings of work to pick up the save.
Hull — who threw a complete-game one-hitter in Monday’s 5-0 first-game win over SJFC -- was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after going 3-1 with two saves and an 0.90 earned run average while striking out 46 batters in 31 innings. The freshman left-hander finished the year 32-3 with six saves.
Virginia Wesleyan managed just two hits against SJFC ace Lindsey Thayer, both coming in the fourth inning when the Marlins scored the game’s lone run.
Madison Glaubke led off the inning with a walk and raced around with the winning run when Howerin followed with a two-strike double to left-center field. Blake Henderson then reached on a bunt single that put Howerin on third before Thayer got out of the jam with two fly outs and strikeout.
But the damage had already been done and the 1-0 lead was all the Marlins would need with Wright and Hull in the circle.
|NCAA Division III Softball Championship All-Tournament Team|
|Catherine Porter, Catcher, Trine|
|Sammie Galvez, Catcher, St. Catherine|
|Sam Berghoff, Shortstop, Illinois Wesleyan|
|Alena Marovitz, First Base, Amherst|
|Rebecca Duncan, Utility, Williams|
|Kaylee Prather, Outfield, Texas-Tyler|
|Cheyenne Thompson, Outfield, Texas-Tyler|
|Lindsey Thayer, Pitcher, St. John Fisher|
|Sarah Kubik, First Base, St. John Fisher|
|Madison Glaubke, Outfield, Virginia Wesleyan|
|Cassetty Howerin, First Base, Virginia Wesleyan|
|Courtney Wright, Pitcher, Virginia Wesleyan|
|Most Outstanding Player – Hanna Hull, Pitcher, Virginia Wesleyan|