The Bluefield College Lady Rams softball team advanced to the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) World Series championship game with a 3-0 win over Judson University, Thursday morning, May 18, in Troutville, Virginia.
With one out and two runners on in the sixth inning, BC senior Baily Garin doubled to right-center field to score freshman Savannah Shirley, who was pinch running for freshman Meredith Throckmorton, who had doubled earlier in the inning, and junior Cameron Pearson, who took first base on balls. Garin later scored after singles by freshman Taylor Myers and senior Alexandra Bartley to give BC the 3-0 advantage.
Senior All-Conference pitcher Brienna Sparks, who has 11 wins, 119 strikeouts and a nationally ranked 1.26 earned run average on the season, preserved the win for the Lady Rams with her shutout pitching, which included two strikeouts and no walks. Judson’s biggest threat to score against Sparks came early in the game with a lead-off double in the second inning that fizzled after a sacrifice bunt and two straight fly-outs. The Eagles had several other opportunities to score with two runners on base in the third, a two-out triple in the fourth, and two runners on base in the fifth, but the Lady Rams shut down those scoring threats with stellar defense in the field and from the circle.
On Wednesday, May 17, the Lady Rams defeated number one seed Cedarville University, 1-0, in the double-elimination NCCAA World Series. Sparks got the complete game shutout win in that contest as she allowed just six hits and struck out three. Later on Wednesday, the Lady Rams lost 6-2 to Oklahoma Baptist University, whom they will play at 2 p.m. today (Thursday) in Troutville for the NCCAA World Series title.
The Lady Rams qualified for post-season play in the regional tournament of the NCCAA as a result of a school record 24 wins on the season, six more than the school record 18 wins set in 2016. In regional play, they defeated Alice Lloyd College twice to claim the NCCAA Mideast Regional Championship. Now 27-19, they will play for the NCCAA World Series crown.
“We are still striving to do the best we can in the Christian World Series, and there is not anything that is going to stop us from being the best team that Bluefield has ever had,” said senior Megan Arrington. “This is such a talented group of girls that I have been honored to play with, and they have made my senior year such a memorable year.”