No. 17 softball wins NCAA Virginia Beach Regional

Mackenzie Chitwood celebrates a home run in the NCAA softball championship

Virginia Beach, Va. -- Mackenzie Chitwood postponed her final exam in religion to travel with the University of Lynchburg softball team to the NCAA Division III Virginia Beach Regional.

Sunday, Lynchburg's senior first baseman preached in the church of the longball.

Chitwood homered three times as the Hornets topped two-time defending national champion and top-ranked Virginia Wesleyan twice, 7-4 and 4-2, to win the regional tournament and move on to the super-regional round for the second time in program history.

The Ferrum, Va., native won Most Outstanding Player honors for the tournament, and senior third baseman Taylor Mabry (Bassett, Va.), senior right-handed pitcher Taylor Belknap (Arden, N.C.) and sophomore right-handed pitcher Kayley Cox (Yorktown, Va.) earned spots on the all-tournament team.

Lynchburg took an early lead in the day's deciding second game thanks to a solo home run by Chitwood in the bottom of the first inning.

Virginia Wesleyan took the lead in the top of the sixth when Katelyn Biando singled in two runs, but the lead didn't last long.

The Hornets countered in the bottom half as rain began to fall on VWU's Broyles Field. Junior shortstop Kayla Hugate (Chesterfield, Va.) started the rally with a one-out walk, which Mabry followed with a single.

Chitwood then launched her second homer of the ballgame, this one to left-center field, to put the Hornets back on top.

After a walk to senior catcher Brittany Coffey (Manassas, Va.), the rain picked up, sending the game into a 20-minute delay before skies cleared.

VWU escaped the inning without further damage, but Belknap dodged a leadoff walk in the seventh to slam the door and earn the win in relief and set off the celebration.

In Game 1, the Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the first on Julia Sinnett's RBI double. After Kortney Leazer (Remington, Va.) and Carol Oberhelman (Washington Township, N.J.) reached on back-to-back errors to lead off the inning, Mabry slugged a three-run homer down the left-field line to put the Hornets up, 3-1.

Lynchburg added another run an inning later on Mabry's RBI single with two outs, and the Hornets made it a 6-1 lead in the sixth on back-to-back solo homers by Mabry and Chitwood.

Freshman designated player Haley Drew (Appomattox, Va.) added an RBI single in the seventh for a 7-1 Lynchburg lead.

The Marlins rallied in the seventh, bringing the tying run to the plate before Belknap induced the game-ending groundout. She tossed a complete game in the opening ballgame, allowing four runs, two earned, and striking out a pair of VWU hitters.

The first Lynchburg win broke the Hornets' 11-game losing skid against Virginia Wesleyan dating back to 2015.

Most impressively, both Sunday's wins came with VWU southpaw Hanna Hull in the circle. Hull was the national player of the year in 2017 and 2018 and is a three-time Old Dominion Athletic Conference pitcher of the year. She entered Sunday with an ERA under 0.40 and is the league's all-time leader in strikeouts and wins.

Chitwood's MOP honor came on the heels of a tournament in which she homered four times and drove in seven runs, slugging 1.125 over the five games. She broke the Old Dominion Athletic Conference's single-season RBI record with the three-run homer, bringing her to a Division III-best 69 for the year.

Mabry went 6-for-18 with two homers and seven RBI in the tournament. She had been 1-for-18 against Hull in her career prior to Sunday, but all three hits against the lefty loomed large in the deciding games.

Belknap tossed a team-high 20 ⅓ innings in the regional, compiling a 1.39 ERA and wins in both Sunday's games.

Cox, pitching through a rib injury throughout the weekend, was 2-0 with a 0.46 ERA in the tournament. She allowed just 10 hits in 15 ⅓ innings and struck out five.

Lynchburg will learn its NCAA super-regional fate in the coming days as the nation's other 15 regional tournaments wrap up. Check back with LynchburgSports.com for full details on the Division III softball tournament and Lynchburg's upcoming pairing.

--LYN--

Softball unveils 2019 schedule
September 13, 2018 Softball unveils 2019 schedule
Fri Dec 20
4:00 PM
Hood
vs. Lynchburg
@ Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Shootout
Sat Dec 21
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
vs. Marymount (Va.)
@ Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Shootout
Wed Jan 01
2:00 PM
William Peace
vs. Lynchburg
Thu Jan 02
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph-Macon
Sat Jan 04
2:00 PM
Va. Wesleyan
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 04
4:30 PM
Johns Hopkins
vs. Lynchburg
Tue Jan 07
7:00 PM
Guilford
vs. Lynchburg
Wed Jan 08
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph
Sat Jan 11
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Wed Jan 15
5:00 PM
Washington and Lee
vs. Lynchburg
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
No Event
No Event
No Event
No Event
Fri Nov 08
Final
87 Lynchburg
78 vs. Albertus Magnus
@ Hood College, Frederick, Md. MMI Tip-Off Tournament
Sat Nov 09
Final
62 Lynchburg
75 at Hood
MMI Tip-Off Championship
Wed Nov 13
Final
88 Lynchburg
68 at N.C. Wesleyan
Sat Nov 16
Final
69 Hampden-Sydney
74 vs. Methodist
@ Lynchburg, Va. Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 1
Sat Nov 16
Final
80 Pfeiffer
91 vs. Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 2
Sun Nov 17
Final
99 Hampden-Sydney
108 vs. Pfeiffer
@ Lynchburg, Va. Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 3
Sun Nov 17
Final
69 Methodist
93 vs. Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 4
Fri Nov 22
Final
84 Lynchburg
88 vs. Mary Washington
@ Newport News, Va. CAC/ODAC Challenge - Game 1
Sat Nov 23
Final
77 Lynchburg
79 at No. 9 Chris. Newport
CAC/ODAC Challenge - Game 4
Sun Dec 01
Final
81 Lynchburg
68 at Bridgewater (Va.)
Wed Dec 04
Final
73 Lynchburg
78 at Ferrum
Sat Dec 07
Final
51 East. Mennonite
90 vs. Lynchburg
Wed Dec 11
Final
61 Lynchburg
42 at Averett
Wed Jan 01
2:00 PM
William Peace
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 04
2:00 PM
Va. Wesleyan
vs. Lynchburg
Wed Jan 08
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph
Wed Jan 15
7:30 PM
Hampden-Sydney
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 18
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Emory & Henry
Wed Jan 22
7:00 PM
Ferrum
vs. Lynchburg
Coaches vs. Cancer Week
Sat Jan 25
2:00 PM
Washington and Lee
vs. Lynchburg
Alumni Day | Coaches vs. Cancer Week
Wed Jan 29
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Roanoke
Sat Feb 01
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Va. Wesleyan
No Event
No Event
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
No Event
No Event
No Event
No Event
Sun Nov 10
Final
60 Meredith
81 vs. Lynchburg
Tue Nov 12
Final
39 Lynchburg
70 at Averett
Fri Nov 15
Final
39 Lynchburg
52 at Emory
Emory Holiday Inn Tip Off Classic (Game Played at Agnes Scott)
Sat Nov 16
Final
64 Colorado Col.
76 vs. Lynchburg
@ Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga. Emory Holiday Inn Tip Off Classic
Wed Nov 20
Final
73 Lynchburg
60 at Hollins
Mon Nov 25
Final
61 East. Mennonite
82 vs. Lynchburg
Wed Dec 04
Final
58 Lynchburg
49 at Randolph
Sat Dec 07
Final
67 Emory & Henry
56 vs. Lynchburg
CODE RED Game
Fri Dec 20
4:00 PM
Hood
vs. Lynchburg
@ Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Shootout
Sat Dec 21
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
vs. Marymount (Va.)
@ Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Shootout
Thu Jan 02
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph-Macon
Sat Jan 04
4:30 PM
Johns Hopkins
vs. Lynchburg
Tue Jan 07
7:00 PM
Guilford
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 11
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Wed Jan 15
5:00 PM
Washington and Lee
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 18
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Va. Wesleyan
Wed Jan 22
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Ferrum
Sat Jan 25
4:30 PM
Bridgewater (Va.)
vs. Lynchburg
Alumnae Day
Wed Jan 29
7:00 PM
Hollins
vs. Lynchburg
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
No events to show.
Sat Oct 26
Final
3 Lynchburg
1 at Va. Wesleyan
Tue Oct 29
Final - OT
0 Guilford
1 vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night
Sun Nov 03
Final
0 Randolph-Macon
2 vs. Lynchburg
Match 3 - ODAC Quarterfinal
Fri Nov 08
Final - PK Away
2 Lynchburg
2 at Hampden-Sydney
Match 6 - ODAC Semifinal
Sat Nov 09
Final
0 Lynchburg
1 vs. No. 11 Washington and Lee
@ Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden Sydney, Va. Match 8 - ODAC Championship
View Full Schedule
Sun Oct 27
Final
1 Lynchburg
2 at Shenandoah
Wed Oct 30
Final
2 Lynchburg
1 at Guilford
Sat Nov 02
Final - OT
2 Va. Wesleyan
1 vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night | CODE RED Match
Mon Nov 04
Final
0 East. Mennonite
4 vs. Lynchburg
Match 1 - ODAC First Round
Wed Nov 06
Final
1 Lynchburg
4 at No. 14 Randolph-Macon
Match 2 - ODAC Quarterfinals
View Full Schedule