NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Salisbury University softball team gave everything No. 8 Christopher Newport University could handle on the final day of the Capital Athletic Conference championship series, but ultimately, the Captains were able to claim the crown, topping Salisbury 10-4 and 6-4 in the two games.
Salisbury won the opening game of the series on Friday, 9-6, forcing the Captains into needing two wins on Saturday for the title.
Game 1: Christopher Newport 10, Salisbury 4
The Captains got on the board with single runs in each of the first two innings off Salisbury starter Rachael Milligan, before the Sea Gulls cut into the lead with a run in the second.
Salisbury got the bats going against Christopher Newport starter Patty Maye Ohanian, putting together four-straight hits to begin the inning. Kristen Yanarella, Emily Allen, and Sami Mumford each had singles to start the inning before Amelia Trotter put a ball into center field for a run-scoring single, plating Yanrella, cutting the deficit to 2-1. Ohanian recorded a strikeout and a pop out to get two outs before Dakotah Fraley put a charge into a ball out to right field, but Tara Deck was able to make a running catch heading toward the fence for the third out, preserving the Captains' lead.
After a solo home run for the Captains in the third, Annie Pietanza led off the bottom of the inning with a double before a walk by Madeira Alexander put two runners on base. Yanarella moved the runners up with a ground out and Allen came through with a single that dropped in fair by just inches down the right field line, scoring both runners to tie the game at 3-3.
The Sea Gulls took the lead later in the inning when Trotter dropped a single into right-center field, allowing pinch runner Kaila Beach to score for the 4-3 advantage.
In the top of the fifth, the Captains struck back with seven runs on seven hits to take a 10-4 lead and the Sea Gulls were unable to push another run across.
Sami Mumford was 4-for-4 for the Sea Gulls while Pietanza and Allen each had three hits.
Game 2: Christopher Newport 6, Salisbury 4
In the third and deciding game of the series, the Sea Gulls got the offense going early but could not hold off another late-inning rally from the Captains.
Pietanza belted a solo home run in the first inning to get the scoring started against Christopher Newport's starting pitcher Laura Kate Moss in the second game. A squeeze bunt by Mumford brought home Yanarella in the second with a CNU error in the third and a Fraley single in the fourth giving Salisbury a 4-0 lead.
Moss held the Sea Gulls off the scoreboard through the next few innings while the Captains came back. Alexis Layton started in the circle for the Sea Gulls, and allowed just four base runners over the first four innings, on three hits and a walk.
The Captains got to Layton for the first time in the fifth inning, scoring two runs and had two in scoring position when Head Coach Margie Knight called on senior LeAnne Collins to come on in relief. Collins, a pitcher in high school, had never thrown a collegiate pitch, but gave Christopher Newport a different look.
Collins got the first batter to lift a fly ball to center field, which resulted in a sacrifice fly, and cutting the Salisbury lead to 4-3, but also was able to double off the runner at second base, and got another fly out to end the inning.
The Captains, however, were able to score the game-tying run in the sixth when Savannah Couch singled home Grace Wild and in the seventh Wild belted a two-run home run to take the lead.
Playing as the home team, Salisbury had one more chance, in the bottom of the seventh with the heart of the order coming to the plate, but Moss was able to retire the side in order and collect the CAC championship for the Captains.