#3 Longwood defeats #1 Liberty 4-2 to capture 3rd straight Big South Softball Title
FARMVILLE, Va. (WSET) - The Longwood Lancers defeated the Liberty Lady Flames 4-2 on Sunday, capturing their 3rd straight Big South Conference championship, and their 4th in 5th years.
The Lancers (28-27) were pushed to the brink by Dot Richardson's Flames (38-22) during the tournament, with LU defeating Longwood 9-3 Saturday, to force the "winner-takes-all" match on Sunday. The two sides traded runs in the 2nd inning, with the Lancers' Jessica Smith blasting an RBI double to left, while Kaitlyn McFarland stole home on a throwing error for the Flames. In the third, the bases were loaded for Longwood's Glenn Walters, who hit a ground ball back to pitcher Chase Cassady, but the throw home went wide, allowing two runs to score, making it a 3-1 lead for the Lancers. A squeeze bunt moments later from Krista Kelly made it 4-1.
The Flames rallied in the 6th, with Sarah Robertson drawing a leadoff walk, before Taylor Hoffman reached on a fielder's choice. Deidra See sent a grounder that second baseman Destiny Martinez dove to get, throwing See out at first. McFarland then came through with a two-out RBI double, making it 4-2. However, Jasmeen Click grounded to third for the final out, and the Flames could get no closer.
With the win, Longwood earns the Big South's automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Division I Softball Championship. Liberty has accepted an invite to the 2017 National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC) tournament, and will host UNC-Wilmington (33-18) on Tuesday.