ODAC Softball: Roanoke eliminates Lynchburg, advances to Championship game

Shanan Hester pitched a no-hitter that included 5 K’s

SALEM, Va. – With heavy rain moving through the area on Saturday, the ODAC was forced to slide its schedule for the Softball Tournament in Salem. That left us with an action packed Sunday that started at 9 a.m. with two games.

In the winners bracket, Roanoke College faced off with Virginia Wesleyan. The Marlins, just one year removed from winning the NCAA D3 National Championship at Moyer Sports Complex, had stellar defense and hot bats. They jumped to a 4-0 advantage in the first inning. Roanoke tried to battle back but nothing was doing as Wesleyan would go on to win via run-rule, 9-1 in five innings of play. Roanoke would then have to face the winner of the Lynchburg vs. Randolph-Macon game.

Top seeded Lynchburg was in a must-win situation in the loser’s bracket against Randolph-Macon. The Hornets jumped to a 3-0 advantage and held it until the third inning when the Yellow Jackets tied the game. In fact, R-MC took the lead in the sixth inning 4-3 and were just three outs away from the win. That’s until Sophie Tully changed things with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and force extra innings. The two teams battled until the bottom of the ninth, when Rustburg High School grad Carly Hudnall hit a walk-off RBI single for the 5-4 Hornets win.

So it was Lynchburg and Roanoke set to do battle with the winner advancing to the championship game to face Virginia Wesleyan. It seemed fitting considering the Maroons and Hornets split at two-game series in Lynchburg back in April. While Roanoke was run-ruled by Va. Wesleyan in its first game, the Maroons flipped the script and did the same to the Hornets.

Roanoke jumped to a 4-0 lead after the first inning with RBI singles from Serenity Bishop and Makayla Austin. Rachel Sirbaugh plated two more runs with a double. The Maroons added insurance in the fifth with a two-RBI double from Sirbaugh again and a Lilly burns RBI single. They held an 8-0 advantage.

Lynchburg had no answer at the plate as Shanan Hester was unstoppable! She pitched a complete game, no-hitter allowing just two walks, had five strikeouts in the 8-0 Maroons victory.

Roanoke advanced to play Virginia Wesleyan in the championship game which will be held Monday at 1 p.m. at Moyer Sports Complex. Should the Maroons win, the two teams will play an additional game to declare an ODAC Softball Champion.

About the Author:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.