Botetourt, Va. – North Greenville University’s recent streak of athletic success continued on Saturday as the Lady Crusader softball team was crowned the 2011 NCCAA National Champions after defeating Simpson University.
After defeating Central Baptist to advance to the championship, Simpson defeated North Greenville 9-0 to force a winner-take-all final game.
Three costly errors contributed to the early loss as the Lady Red Hawks scored runs in the first, second and fourth innings while pounding out nine hits, including three doubles.
Kimberly Robertson started the game but was chased from the mound before recording an out. Robertson allowed three runs on two hits and walking one batter, only facing four batters in the first inning. Courtney Campbell came on to pitch five innings of relief, allowing six runs on nine hits and walking three batters.
At the plate, the Lady Crusaders were only able to muster four hits. Liz Pitts was a perfect 2-for-2, while Robertson and Marielena Santos each finished the game 1-for-3.
In the final game of the tournament, North Greenville was able to defeat Simpson 2-1 and claim their first ever national title.
The Lady Hawks jumped on the board early, scoring a run in the second inning after Paige Gomez drove in the team’s only run of the game with an RBI single. North Greenville quickly tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth inning after Taylor Roof led off the inning with a double to left field and was eventually brought home by a Emily Campbell RBI single.
With the scored tied 1-1, the Lady Crusaders went into the bottom of the seventh needing production in order to avoid extra innings. After Pitts flied out to center field, Santos tripled to right field. With one on and one out, Simpson pitcher Morgan Davis threw a wild pitch, allowing Santos to score the game-winning run.
Roof once again picked up the win for North Greenville, her fourth in a row. Roof pitched a complete game, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out five batters.
E. Campbell was the leader on offense for the Lady Crusaders as she finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI. Roof was 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored, while Santos was 1-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.
“It was rough season at the start,” said assistant coach Dustin Fuls. “But when it came time, the girls stepped up when it mattered the most and we are very proud of all of them for their hard work.”
The Lady Crusaders finish the 2010-11 season with a 23-25 overall recording including a NCCAA South Regional Tournament Championship and the 2011 NCCAA National Championship.