SALEM, Va. – The 2022 ODAC Softball Tournament wrapped up Monday with two terrific games between two of the conference’s four nationally ranked teams -- Virginia Wesleyan and Roanoke. Maroons needed to win twice to claim the title and were eager and ready to do so.
In game one, the bats came alive early. Katie Houle notched an RBI single in the opening inning. She was followed by Shanan Hester who hit a two-RBI single in the second inning. The Maroons would build a 4-0 lead after scoring in each of the first three frames.
The Marlins mounted a big response in the bottom of the fourth. With two runners on base, Madison Hudson hit a three-run home run to center field cutting Roanoke’s lead to just one.
The Maroons added one insurance run by way of a Houle solo home run in the fifth, on their way to a 5-3 victory.
In game two, runs were much harder to come by thanks to stellar pitching and great defensive plays. The Maroons had William Byrd grad Jada Karnes in the circle. She pitched a complete game-- allowing three hits and one run with three strikeouts. Emily Seale was just as effective for the Marlins, going the distance with four strikeouts and despite allowing 8 hits, no runs were scored.
The Marlins scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. After Ariana Rolle reached base via a double, she was moved over to third thanks to a sacrifice bunt from Maria Weddle. Julia Sinnett then stepped to the plate and hit a ground ball deep toward the second. While she was out at first, it was deep enough for Rolle to score.
“We gave it all we had just to get one across the plate we just never could do it,” said head coach Mike Mitchell. “They squeaked one in there and there it is. It happens.”
Virginia Wesleyan (ranked 15th nationally) earned its sixth consecutive ODAC softball championship and 14th in school history. The Marlins also earned the all-important automatic bid to the NCAA D3 Tournament. The field will be set on Monday, May 9 at 1 p.m.
Despite the loss, Roanoke (ranked 20th nationally) is hopeful for an at-large bid in the tournament.