VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – The last two seasons ended in jubilation for the Virginia Wesleyan softball team. On Sunday evening, the season ended in tears, as the Marlins’ hopes of a third straight national championship were dashed by visiting Lynchburg in the Virginia Beach NCAA Regional.
The Hornets (36-13) topped the Marlins 7-4 in the first game of the championship series, forcing a winner-take-all game two. In the second game, all-american pitcher Hanna Hull allowed only three hits, but two of them were home runs from Mackenzie Chitwood.
Chitwood hit a solo home run in the first inning, then delivered the go-ahead, three-run blast in the bottom half of the sixth inning to give Lynchburg the win.
“The sun’s been shining on us for the last couple years, and today it’s shining on Lynchburg,” said Wesleyan head coach Brandon Elliott, who’s team broke the Division III record for wins in each of the previous two seasons.
“If we’re going to lose it to somebody, I’d like to lose it to them. That’s a great club over there. (Head coach) Dawn Simmons does a great job and has been a mentor for me, but certainly difficult for us and our kids.”
Wesleyan entered the day having won 11 straight matchups against Lynchburg, which included a 4-0 mark over the course of this season. The last time the Hornets managed a win in this series was all the way back in March of 2015.
“There’s really not much you can say to (the players) to make them feel better,” said Elliott. “Hopefully at one point they look back and see the great things they did this year, but they’re hurting, and they deserve to hurt.
“They fought hard today, and just on the wrong side of it.”