NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A four-run sixth inning was the difference for Christopher Newport, which ended McDaniel's 2012 NCAA Division III softball tournament run in the consolation final by a 7-3 count on Sunday.
After dropping a 4-1 to top-ranked and top-seeded Emory in Thursday's opening round, the Green Terror (30-14) - the eighth seed in arguably the tournament's most difficult regional - made a name for itself, coming back through the consolation bracket to finish third.
On Friday, McDaniel defeated fourth-seeded Messiah 1-0 in 10 innings. On Saturday, the Green Terror needed 14 innings to topple sixth-seeded Ferrum 3-1 and advance to Sunday. McDaniel used a seventh-inning, two-out, two-strike grand slam to eliminate third-seeded and No. 18 Salisbury, 4-2.
With fifth-seeded Roanoke, which was receiving votes in the latest NFCA Division III coaches' poll, waiting for the winner of the Green Terror and second-seeded and No. 10 Captains (37-10) for the regional championship on Monday, Christopher Newport broke open a 3-2 game with four two-out runs for a rematch with the Maroons. The Captains will need to win twice on Monday to advance to Salem and the Division III Women's College World Series.
Leigh Blohm (Bel Air, Md./Toms River North [N.J.]) led McDaniel in Sunday's second game with two hits. The Green Terror's catalyst for the entire tournament, freshman pitcher Caroline Brehm (Hanover, Pa./New Oxford) once again fanned nine batters. Over the five games, Brehm struck out 60 while pitching all 44 innings. She allowed 15 walks, 26 hits and 14 runs while hitting eight.
Kelly Foate paced the Captains with a 2-for-3 day at the plate, three runs scored and two RBIs.
A walk to Foate to lead off the game, a stolen base and two-out Jennifer Falin single staked Christopher Newport to a 1-0 lead.
A Foate leadoff triple followed by a sacrifice fly pushed the lead to 2-0 in the third.
Sabrina Hall drew a one-out walk and stole second before Falin delivered a two-out double for a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the frame, Lauren Fusco (Laurel, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) drew a four-pitch walk to lead off before Amy Baumgardner (Hanover, Pa./South Western) singled to the gap to put runners at second and third.
Sam Stitely (Westminster, Md./North Carroll) followed with a two-run single before a double play on an extremely close relay and a circus catch against the foul wall in left field prevented further damage.
Maggie Ferris drew a one-out walk in the sixth before Hannah Martin was hit by a two-out pitch to put runners at first and second.
Foate put a ball into the gap in left-center that was nearly snagged but it dropped to allow both runners to score for a 5-2 lead.
Kristina McLaughlin followed with a home run over the fence in right-center to stretch the lead to five.
Beth Ann Fusco (Laurel, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) tried to start some more seventh-inning magic with a one-out double to the wall in the right-field corner.
A fielding error with two outs allowed her to score from third to set the final margin.
Brehm finished the season with a program- and conference-record 377 strikeouts. The total ranks sixth all-time in NCAA Division III history.
Amy Baumgardner, Caroline Brehm and Lauren Fusco join head coach Phil Smith to talk about the win over Salisbury and the end of a great season.