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Press Release Written by Sports Information Graduate Intern MaryKate Rumbaugh
LAKEWOOD, N.J. – Having to win three straight games, the No. 2 seeded Wilmington University softball team did just that to defeat No. 1 Georgian Court, 5-4, in nine innings to capture their first Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship since 2016 on Saturday afternoon at SEI Investments Field.
With the win the Wildcats earn the CACC's automatic bid into the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament, which will be announce on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. on NCAA.com.
Game one vs. No. 8 Jefferson:
In their first game of the day, the Wildcats faced off with No. 8 seeded Jefferson in the elimination round, winning 3-0 to advance to the CACC Championship game. It was a pitcher's duel, as neither team would score until the fourth, when Makayla McCarthy doubled to right center to bring the first two runs across the plate for WilmU.
McCarthy would get out of a big sixth inning with a double play and a ground out to end the inning, stranding a runner on second base. Annie Davila would give WilmU an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning with a solo homerun to make it a 3-0 ballgame.
Makayla McCarthy threw a complete game, allowing four hits with five strikeouts to complete the shutout. She also had two RBI. Kiana Broderson-Jones, and Alyssa Velasquez both went 2-for-3. Annie Davila had one RBI.
Game two against No. 1 Georgian Court:
With the win over Jefferson, the Wildcats needed to win back-to-back contests against No. 1 Georgian Court, since the Lions had not lost throughout the Tournament yet.
The Wildcats started out fast in the first inning, loading the bases with two outs, but could not plate any runs. Caitlyn Whiteside would get into a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the second, but get out of it on a groundout to strand all three runners. WilmU had another chance in the third, but would not come through with a run until the top of the fourth.
Lexi Baughman would get that inning going for the Wildcats with a leadoff single, before Jazmeen Llamas followed behind her with a bunt single to the pitcher. With one out, Rosa'Lynn Burton would hit an RBI single up the middle to score pinch runner Angela Antonini for the first run of the ballgame. With runners now on second and third, Kiana Broderson-Jones hit a sacrifice fly out to center field to score Llamas and give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Georgian Court would answer right back in the bottom half of the inning with just one run to bring it to a 2-1 ballgame. With the rain coming down hard, the umpires decided to stop the game in the bottom of the sixth until the rain passed through. After resuming play, the Lions would get some momentum on a solo homerun to tie the ballgame up at two apiece to head into the final inning.
Looking to start something, Annie Davila would double to right center to put herself in scoring position as the leadoff batter. Lauren Lopez would be the next batter, who singled to center to advance Davila to third. Now with the momentum on the Wildcats' side, Alyssa Velasquez would reach on a throwing error by the shortstop to score Davila and advance Lopez to third. Makayla McCarthy then followed Velasquez with a sacrifice fly out to center field to score Davila and give WilmU a 4-2 lead heading into the Lions' final at bats.
Caitlyn Whiteside would walk the first batter, but would get three straight outs, including a strikeout looking to strand the runner on second and help the Wildcats force a winner takes all game for the CACC Championship.
Whiteside went 7.0 IP, allowing five hits, two runs, two walks, while striking out five batters. Rosa'Lynn Burton went 2-for-4 with one RBI, while Kiana Broderson-Jones, Annie Davila, Lauren Lopez, and Jazmeen Llamas all went 2-for-3. Broderson-Jones, Velasquez and Makayla McCarthy all had one RBI.
Game Three vs. No. 1 Georgian Court:
It took nine innings and 10 hits for the Wilmington University softball team to come back from a 4-1 deficit to capture the 2019 CACC Championship over Georgian Court.
Kiana Broderson-Jones would give the Wildcats an early lead in the top of the first inning with a single up the middle to score Rosa'Lynn Burton to make it a 1-0 game going into the Lions' first at bats.
Georgian Court would not be fazed by the single digit run, as they started the inning off with a single, before getting some momentum off a two-run homerun to take a 2-1 lead. With only one out, the Lions would hit another two-run shot out to right to extend their lead to 4-1 in the first. Caitlyn Whiteside would relieve Makayla McCarthy and get out of the inning by stranding a runner on second.
Wilmington would slowly fight back against the 4-1 deficit, starting in the top of the third inning. With two outs in the inning and Burton on second base, Annie Davila would hit an RBI single to left to score Burton, before Lauren Lopez followed her with her own single up the middle and bring the deficit to within one, making it 4-3.
WilmU would have a chance to score again in the top of the fifth with runners on second and third, but could not come through. It wasn't until the top of the sixth that Alyssa Velasquez started the inning with a leadoff single up the middle. Pitcher Caitlyn Whiteside would try and move Velasquez on a sacrifice bunt, but would end up reaching first to put her and Velasquez on without any outs. Kiersten Comer looked to get in the action as a pitch hitter, as she reached on a fielding error from the shortstop to load the bases up for Angela Antonini. Antonini would come up big, hitting a sacrifice fly out to right to score Velasquez and tie the ballgame up at 4-4.
With a runner on second in the bottom of the sixth, Kiana Broderson-Jones made a perfect throw to Antonini at the plate to get the runner out at home on a single to center to keep the game tied heading into the seventh inning. The Lions had another opportunity in the bottom of the seventh, but Whiteside was able to get out of a first and third situation with a foul out to left field and force extra innings.
One-two-three innings for both teams in the eighth would force a ninth inning. With two outs in the top of the ninth, leadoff hitter Rosa'Lynn Burton did what she does best and laid down a bunt single to third, before stealing second to put herself in scoring position for Kiana Broderson-Jones. Originally Broderson-Jones was hit by a pitch and was awarded first, but was called off, as the umpires made a consensus that it hit her bat to bring her back to the plate. Unhappy with the call, Broderson-Jones came up big for the Wildcats with a single to left field, which would score Burton and give the Wildcats the go-ahead run, making it 5-4.
Just needing three outs, Caitlyn Whiteside would get the first two batters on a fly out and a strikeout looking to bring the Lions down to their final batter. With a 1-1 count, Whiteside would get the batter to pop up into foul territory for third baseman Lauren Lopez to make the catch and start the celebration.
Whiteside went 8.2 IP, allowing four hits, no runs, and three strikeouts. The senior from Bermuda Dunes, California would go on to earn the CACC Tournament MVP award after her dominating performances throughout the tournament.
Wilmington will wait to find out what seed they are for the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament, which will start Thursday, May 9.
2019 CACC SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Paige Sandoval (Caldwell)
Brielle Riotte (Chestnut Hill)
Taylor Gilligan (Dominican)
Demi Rivera (Post)
Janelle Adams (Nyack)
Erin O'Brien (Nyack)
Naomi Stas (Jefferson)
Breck Urban (Jefferson)
Jess O'Neil (Georgian Court)
Samantha Reilly (Georgian Court)
Eryka Springer (Georgian Court)
Annie Davila (Wilmington)
Caitlyn Whiteside (Wilmington)
Rosa'Lynn Burton (Wilmington)
Kiana Broderson-Jones (Wilmington)
MVP: Caitlyn Whiteside (Wilmington)