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
Thu Oct 24
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
at No. 15 Randolph-Macon
Moved from Oct. 23
Fri Oct 25
Lynchburg
at Delaware State
Fri Oct 25
6:30 PM
Lynchburg
at Ferrum
Sat Oct 26
at Hampden-Sydney Tiger Individual, The Manor GC, Farmville, Va.
Sat Oct 26
1 p.m.
at Emory & Henry
Sat Oct 26
1:00 PM
No. 19 Lynchburg
at Bridgewater (Va.)
Sat Oct 26
1:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Mary Washington
Sat Oct 26
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Va. Wesleyan
Sun Oct 27
1:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Tue Oct 29
7:00 PM
Guilford
vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
Fri Nov 08
TBA
Lynchburg
vs. TBA
@ Hood College, Frederick, Md. MMI Tip-Off Tournament
Fri Nov 08
6:00 PM
Albertus Magnus
vs. Lynchburg
@ Hood College MMI Tip-Off Tournament
Sat Nov 09
TBA
Lynchburg
vs. TBA
@ Hood College, Frederick, Md. MMI Tip-Off Tournament
Wed Nov 13
7:30 PM
Lynchburg
at N.C. Wesleyan
Sat Nov 16
6:00 PM
Pfeiffer
vs. Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 2
Sun Nov 17
3:00 PM
Methodist
vs. Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 4
Fri Nov 22
TBA
Mary Washington
vs. Lynchburg
@ Newport News, VA CNU Classic
Sat Nov 23
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Chris. Newport
Christopher Newport Classic -- Game 2
Sun Dec 01
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Bridgewater (Va.)
Wed Dec 04
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Ferrum
Sat Dec 07
2:00 PM
East. Mennonite
vs. Lynchburg
Wed Dec 11
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Averett
No Event
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
Sun Nov 10
12:00 PM
Meredith
vs. Lynchburg
Tue Nov 12
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Averett
Fri Nov 15
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Emory
Emory Holiday Inn Tip Off Classic
Sat Nov 16
2:00 PM
Colorado Col.
vs. Lynchburg
@ Emory University, Atlanta, Ga. Emory Holiday Inn Tip Off Classic
Wed Nov 20
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Hollins
Mon Nov 25
7:00 PM
East. Mennonite
vs. Lynchburg
Wed Dec 04
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph
Sat Dec 07
4:30 PM
Emory & Henry
vs. Lynchburg
CODE RED Game
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
No events to show.
No Event
No Event
No Event
Sat Sep 07
Final
0 Maryville (Tenn.)
1 vs. No. 22 Lynchburg
Sun Sep 08
Final
0 Regent
10 vs. No. 22 Lynchburg
Wed Sep 11
Final
2 No. 16 Mary Washington
0 vs. Lynchburg
Fri Sep 13
Final
1 No. 13 Oglethorpe
2 vs. Lynchburg
Wed Sep 18
Final - 2OT
0 Lynchburg
0 at Chris. Newport
Sat Sep 21
Final
0 Lynchburg
1 at Catholic
Wed Sep 25
Final - 2OT
0 No. 13 Washington and Lee
0 vs. Lynchburg
Non-conference match
Sat Sep 28
Final - 2OT
0 Lynchburg
0 at Roanoke
Wed Oct 02
Final - 2OT
2 Lynchburg
2 at Bridgewater (Va.)
Non-conference match
Wed Oct 09
Final
0 Randolph-Macon
4 vs. Lynchburg
Sat Oct 12
Final - 2OT
3 Lynchburg
3 at Hampden-Sydney
Wed Oct 16
Final
0 Lynchburg
4 at No. 6 Washington and Lee
Sat Oct 19
Final
1 East. Mennonite
3 vs. Lynchburg
Homecoming
Wed Oct 23
Final
1 Shenandoah
4 vs. Lynchburg
Sat Oct 26
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Va. Wesleyan
Tue Oct 29
7:00 PM
Guilford
vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night
Fri Nov 01
TBA
TBA
vs. Lynchburg
ODAC Tournament -- First Round
Sun Nov 03
TBA
TBA
vs. Lynchburg
ODAC Tournament -- Quarterfinal
Sat Nov 09
TBA
TBA
vs. Lynchburg
ODAC Tournament -- Semifinal
Sun Nov 10
TBA
TBA
vs. Lynchburg
ODAC Tournament -- Championship
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
Sat Sep 07
Final
1 Maryville (Tenn.)
2 vs. No. 20 Lynchburg
Shellenberger Classic -- Match 1
Sun Sep 08
Final
0 Kalamazoo
3 vs. No. 20 Lynchburg
Shellenberger Classic -- Match 3
Sat Sep 14
Final - 2OT
2 No. 19 Lynchburg
3 at Emory
Sun Sep 15
Final
1 No. 19 Lynchburg
0 at Piedmont
Wed Sep 25
Final - 2OT
1 No. 23 Lynchburg
1 at No. 2 Chris. Newport
Sat Sep 28
Final
0 No. 23 Lynchburg
3 at Washington and Lee
Note time change
Sat Oct 05
Final
0 Bridgewater (Va.)
4 vs. Lynchburg
Wed Oct 09
Final
1 Randolph
5 vs. Lynchburg
Sat Oct 12
Final
5 Lynchburg
0 at East. Mennonite
Tue Oct 15
Final
3 Lynchburg
0 at Ferrum
Non-conference match
Wed Oct 16
Final
0 Sweet Briar
9 vs. Lynchburg
Sat Oct 19
Final
2 Roanoke
1 vs. Lynchburg
Homecoming
Thu Oct 24
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
at No. 15 Randolph-Macon
Moved from Oct. 23
Sun Oct 27
1:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Wed Oct 30
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Guilford
Sat Nov 02
1:00 PM
Va. Wesleyan
vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night | CODE RED Match
Wed Nov 06
TBA
TBD
vs. Lynchburg
@ High Seed ODAC Tournament -- Quarterfinal
Sat Nov 09
TBA
TBD
vs. Lynchburg
@ Highest Seed ODAC Tournament -- Semifinal
Sun Nov 10
TBA
TBD
vs. Lynchburg
@ Highest Seed ODAC Tournament -- Championship
No Event
View Full Schedule