The Virginia Wesleyan freshman duo of Courtney Wright and Hanna Hull dominated from the circle in the D3 Softball College World Series in Oklahoma City this past weekend.
The pair combined to hold St. John Fisher scoreless over the 14 innings of the Marlins two victories over the Cardinals.
With the pair of wins, Virginia Wesleyan captured the first national championship in program history with a 1-0 victory in game two, that followed a 5-0 win in the opener.
In the final, both teams were quiet heading into the fourth. Wright held the Cardinals to just three hits while keeping the Empire 8 Champions scoreless.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Marlins capitalized on a leadoff walk to Madison Glaubke when Cassetty Howerin doubled to the wall in left field. A bunt single and a stolen base by Blake Henderson put runners on second and third, with no outs.
Cardinal ace Lindsay Thayer induced a popout, followed by a strikeout and flyout to get out of the inning down just 1-0.
Thanks to the Marlin pitching staff, the run would be all they needed. Wright continued to fire in the fifth getting three straight Cardinal groundouts to move the game to the final two innings.
Hull came to the circle in the sixth, fanning the first batter she faced. After a walk and lineout, a Cardinal grounder ended the sixth leaving the Marlins just three outs from the title.
In a fitting close to the game, and the Marlin season for that matter, Hull rung up all three Cardinal hitters in the last inning to finish off the game and send the D2 Softball Championship hardware to Virginia Beach for the first time in history.
Wright allowed just three hits, walking one and striking out two in her five innings of work. At the plate, Howerin went 1-for-3 with the lone RBI in the game.
Coach Elliot is quick to point out that there are unsung heroes, and none more than pitching coach Jim Inzana.
Marlin head coach Brandon Elliott is quick to give credit where due when it comes to his pitching staff.
"When it comes to pitching, I just recruit it – Jim Inzana, our longtime pitching coach, develops it." said Elliott. "The running joke is Coach Elliott goes and finds good pitchers and Coach Inzana makes them great."
"He is the best in the business." said Elliot of his Pitching Coach. "The bull pen is Coach Inzana's – he is the head coach when it comes to our pitchers. There is no doubt about it and he doesn't get the credit he deserves. We nicknamed him the Sandman because he just seems to sprinkle some magic dust on all our pitchers and BOOM they are phenomenal."
The Marlins finished the season with a 54-3 overall record, and with their young arms in the circle for another three seasons, future expectations will be high.