Hawks knock off Bishops

Published 3:05 pm Thursday, April 16, 2009

MURFREESBORO – Good things usually come in pairs, but for Chowan University’s softball team closing out one of its most successful seasons, it comes in threes.

Chowan used the third innings of both games of their doubleheader with North Carolina Wesleyan of Rocky Mount to score the majority of their runs Tuesday and completed a sweep of the Bishops by scores of 9-1 and 11-0 in their final home games of the season.

It brought the Lady Hawks’ win total on the year to 27 — three wins shy of 30.

And of the three teams in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Regional softball tournament, beginning Saturday in Franklin Springs, Georgia, the Hawks are the top seed.

Okay, not even three beats being number-one.

Sophomore Brooke had three runs-batted-in and fellow sophomore Tricia Gorman collected three hits including a couple of doubles while freshman Allie Kolezynski scored three times in the first game victory.

That offensive effort was backed up by the four-hit pitching of senior and former Northeastern star, Shellie Wimpey, who picked up her 14th win of the season. Wimpey surrendered three base hits and a home run.

“At this point in the season it doesn’t matter who we face,” said second-year coach Mandi Balduf. “We’ve seen it all, and now it’s just time to just recognize and execute. We put down sacrifice bunts, sacrifice flies, hit and runs, you name it.

“We’re on a mission now,” she added with a grin.

Balduf’s team gave her plenty to smile about.

After a Wesleyan home runs made it 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Chowan never trailed again all afternoon. Junior Kaytee McLaughlin and Kolezynski drew walks to open the bottom of the first inning. After both moved into scoring position with a stolen base each Gorman delivered a deep shot to center field for a 2-1 Chowan lead.

It was the same score in the third inning when Chowan exploded for five more runs. Owen drove in two runs with a hot-shot double up the middle that careened all the way to the outfield, then later scored an unearned run on a throwing error of a fielder’s choice to make it 5-1.

One out later, with runners on the corners the Hawks pulled off a double-steal to plate another run, and still three batters later Alex Allen drove in the final run of the inning.

The Hawks got a run apiece in the fourth and sixth innings to make for the eight-run margin of victory.

“We’re pumped,” said Gorman after the game. “Today and against USC-Aiken last weekend we only struck out two times, so we’re really hitting the ball.”

“Plus,” she added, “it feels really good to get a big win for our seniors in their last home game.”

“We had a goal of 25 wins and to make the regionals,” said Balduf. “We met our goals, but we’re not done.”