Salem, Va. -- University of Lynchburg's softball team leapt out to an early lead but couldn't hold off top-seeded Virginia Wesleyan's late charge, falling 7-3 in loser-out action Sunday afternoon in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament.
Senior first baseman Mackenzie Chitwood (Ferrum, Va.) gave the Hornets a first-inning lead with a two-run home run down the left field line. Chitwood's homer was her 17th of the season, tying the single-season program record set by Caroline Cubbage in 2006. That mark is also the ODAC's single-season record.
Chitwood's homer brought in junior shortstop Kayla Hugate (Chesterfield, Va.), who led off the game with a walk.
Lynchburg made it a 3-0 lead in the third inning on a sacrifice fly be sophomore center fielder Haylee Wood (Goode, Va.) that scored Chitwood.
Meanwhile, Lynchburg starter Kayley Cox (Yorktown, Va.) retired the first eight Marlins she faced in order, but Virginia Wesleyan finally woke up the bats with two out in the third. Beth Ford slapped a two-out, opposite-field single, followed by a walk to Madison Glaubke. Marlins shortstop Kaylah Duplain put VWU on the board with a two-run double to right-center, cutting the score to 3-2.
Lynchburg got the leadoff hitter, sophomore right fielder Kortney Leazer (Remington, Va.), aboard in the fourth inning and bunted her to second.
VWU went to the bullpen, pulling two-time national pitcher of the year Hanna Hull into the circle. Hull retired the final 11 Lynchburg hitters in order.
The Marlins offense continued to strike. Glaubke tied the game at 3 with a single up the middle in the fifth.
VWU added four more runs in the sixth to take control of the ballgame.
Virginia Wesleyan moves into the 4 p.m. championship game with No. 4-seeded Randolph-Macon. The Marlins will need two victories over R-MC to claim their third-straight title.
Lynchburg will put its fate into the hands of the NCAA Division III tournament selection committee. The Hornets (32-12) were ranked fifth in the latest Atlantic Region rankings.
The NCAA tournament field will be announced Monday, May 6 at 1 p.m. on NCAA.com.