VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The 2017 Division III National Champion softball team began its quest to defend that title Sunday afternoon, squaring off with Meredith College in a home doubleheader. The Marlins took game one 5-1, before defeating the Avenging Angels 12-2 (5 Inn.) in game two.
GAME 1: Meredith - 1 VWU - 5
The Marlins got off to an early lead, plating one run in the opening frame. Kiersten Richardson was hit by a pitch to lead off the side and made her to third on a stolen base and a fly out to right. Cassetty Howerin then drove her home with a single up the middle.
Madison Glaubke added two more for the home side in the third as she bombed one off the fence in right, scoring two. The final two Marlin runs were picked up in the fifth as Jessica Lindsay hit a single up the middle with the bases loaded.
Returning DIII Player of the Year Hanna Hull picked up right where she left off last year as she racked up 17 strikeouts and only allowed a single hit in a complete game.
GAME 2: Meredith - 2 VWU - 12
The Marlins scored nine in the opening inning of this one, many coming with the help of some fielding errors by their opponents. The first three batters of the frame (Richardson, Glaubke, Howerin), loaded the bases and Richardson was able to score on a wild pitch. Teresa Cardamone was then walked to reload the bases bringing up Lindsay, who reached first on an overthrow which also sent Glaubke across homeplate.Julia Sinnett also reached on an error, which inturn plated Howerin. VWU would score four more on fielding errors and wild pitches. In Howerin second plate appearance of the inning, she singled through the right side to score the final two.
In the following inning, the Marlins tacked on two more on a Avenging Angel mishap. The final run came by way of Kerrigan Simpson, who was pinch hitting in the fourth. The freshman tagged a ball to the fence, which sent Howerin home from third.
On the day, two time All-American showed why she was on the DIII Player of the Year watch list as she went a perfect 4-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBI. Richardson, who led the country in stolen bases in 2017, stole three of the teams seven in the two game series.
Softball will pick up action again at 2 p.m. on Tuesday as the team welcomes North Carolina Wesleyan to Marlin Park.