By Diamond Holton
Salisbury University women’s softball won the Regional Championship Saturday, defeating Virginia Wesleyan, 3-2, in a best of three series at SU Softball Field.
Despite an early run from senior Courtney Bogan to put the Marlins (30-7) up 1-0, the Sea Gulls managed to prevail late in the game. Salisbury (32-6) had a record of 4-5 when their opponent scores first, and Head Coach Margie Knight felt great about the win.
“We’re certainly elated that we were able to come out on top in this very tough region,” she said. “The format for one and then facing two really good teams, and certainly some great pitchers.”
Senior pitcher Rachel Johnson threw eight strikeouts allowing two runs off four hits. She managed to keep her composure throughout despite the first run in the beginning.
“I just settled down and there wasn’t really anything you could do,” Johnson said. “I just looked for the next pitch and I had confidence in my team that we had to score, so I just relaxed and focused on my next pitch.”
The tying run of the game came in the top of the fifth inning when Coach Knight switched in pinch hitter Annie Pietanza for sophomore Caitlin Lake as junior Molly Simpson was on second base. A base hit from Pietanza gave Simpson the run to tie the game and Knight had confidence in her to get the job done.
“If you could see Annie hit at practice, she’s got some power and a wonderful swing,” Knight said. “I explained to her what her job was yesterday and today I asked her what her job was and she told me and I said ok and walked away.”
Relief came in the top of the sixth inning as junior Annah Brittingham drove in two runs, juniors Kim Dorsey and Paige Knussman. With that the Sea Gulls took a 3-1 lead.
“I was just thinking about getting people home, getting RBIs, and getting runs for Rachel,” Brittingham said. “All I was thinking about was getting the hit.”
A triple by junior Kayla Malkos and a later pop fly out put the Marlins close behind eith a 3-2 deficit, but that was not enough as Johnson threw the heat causing Va. Wesleyan to hit pop flys and for the Sea Gulls to seal the game with the title.
Salisbury has some time off before the Super Regionals this weekend. The location and opponent will be determined by Monday night after all regional play finishes throughout the NCAA Tournament.