KUTZTOWN, Pa. — The West Virginia Wesleyan softball team (38-18-1) successful season came to an end as the Lady Bobcats were eliminated in the NCAA Tournament by the Atlantic Region’s number one seed and host, Kutztown (Pa.) (40-13) on Saturday, May 14 at North Campus Field in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
After giving up a double to the Kutztown leadoff hitter, starting pitcher Abigail O’Shields settled in and retired three consecutive hitters to keep the Golden Bears off the scoreboard in the first inning. Molly Osbourne pulled a ball to left field and Gracie Payne knocked a hit to right center that set up runners at the corners with two outs. Kutztown was able to work out of the opening inning.
O’Shields managed to escape any damage in the second inning. Kutztown loaded the bases with one out. Wesleyan’s southpaw got a punchout and a force out and the Golden Bears came up empty-handed in the second inning. WVWC went down in order and the score remained at zero in the second inning.
Both teams were sat down in order in the third inning. The Golden Bears and the Bobcats mustered a hit in the fourth inning. Payne placed a single through the right side with one out. In the fifth inning, Alyssa Souders lined a single to left field with two strikes. Both pitchers kept their opponents in check and a series of zeros crept across the scoreboard.
Kutztown punched through in the sixth inning with a two-run home run. Hannah Hudson was called upon in relief and minimized the damage to keep WVWC within two runs. Payne kept her hot bat going with a two-out double in the sixth inning to bring the tying run to the plate. Norris drew a walk on the next plate appearance. Kutztown escaped without allowing a run and held the lead going into the final inning.
Hudson forced two groundouts and a strikeout in the top half of the seventh inning to keep things close. The Bobcats put three balls in play their turn up in the seventh. Kutztown collected the final three outs of the game to claim the regional tournament.