OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan University softball team defended its NCAA Division III National Champion Title as it downed Illinois Wesleyan University, 3-1, in the winner-take-all championship game at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium Tuesday afternoon. With the win, the Marlins finish their season with a record of 55-3, setting a Division III record for wins in a season. The mark was previously 54, set by the Marlins last season.
The Titans got on the board first, plating a single run in the top of the opening frame. The Marlins came right back though, scoring two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Kiersten Richardson led the inning off with a hard-fought walk. That brought up Madison Glaubke, who left it all in the batter's box. The sophomore clubbed a ball that cleared the left field fence, putting the Marlins up 2-1.
The two sides went at a stalemate for a bit after that, with both sides making some solid defensive plays. Two standouts for the Marlins came by way of a Richardson sprawling dive to get a player out at second and a flared pop up that Katelyn Biando had to track down the line to squeeze for an out.
In the fifth, Virginia Wesleyan added an insurance run for good measure. Richardson walked to get on and then stole second. Runners were then placed at the corners as Glaubke singled up the middle. That brought up three-time All-American Cassetty Howerin, who hammered a ball to the warning track that went down as a sacrifice fly as Richardson reached home.
Hanna Hull turned in another solid performance as she drew the Titans into a multitude of 1-2-3 innings. The sophomore punched out five on the day, allowing just a single hit. She also made a few impressive plays on line drives that she was able to snag before they passed her. Hull finishes the year with 40 wins on the rubber, tying a Division III record.