Dragons Advance To Series

By wbng sports

May 16, 2011 Updated May 16, 2011 at 11:51 PM EDT

Cortland, NY (WBNG Binghamton)

Junior first baseman Abby Martin (Oswego) belted a three-run double as part of a five-run fourth inning while junior pitcher Lyndsay Rowell (Sandy Creek) threw a one-hitter with three strikeouts to lead host and top-seeded SUNY Cortland captured their seventh NCAA Division III Softball Regional championship with a five inning 8-0 victory over Piedmont College at Dragon Field.

The Red Dragons (40-3-1), ranked eighth in the most recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top 25 and making their 17th NCAA tournament appearance and fifth in a row, will be one of eight teams earning berths to the NCAA Division III World Series, which will be held May 20-24 at the James I Moyer Sports Complex in Salem, VA. Cortland will face nationally top-ranked Linfield College (WA) in the opening game on Friday, May 20 at 11:00 a.m.

With the runner-up finish, the Lady Lions (30-15), the Great South Athletic Conference Champions, recorded their highest NCAA regional finish since a fourth-place showing in 2006 at the South/Atlantic Regional. It’s their second consecutive tournament appearance and third overall.

Martin was one of two Cortland players to tally multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Sophomore third baseman Lucia Meola (Liverpool/Cicero-North Syracuse) also went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while senior second baseman Donnalyn Cross (Binghamton/Chenango Valley) hit 1-for-2, scoring twice.

Rowell (24-2) finished the tournament with a 4-0 record, facing 17 batters with allowing a walk. She pitched 23 of 25 total innings for the Red Dragons with a 0.61 earned run average, yielding 12 hits, eight walks, and four runs (two earned) while striking out 16 batters and holding opposing hitters to a tournament-low .148 average.

Rowell was one of seven Cortland players on the 15-player All-Tournament team, joining Martin, Meola, Cross, outfielders Meaghan Kohler (Franklin, NJ/Warren Hills Regional) and Brooke Weidman (Wayland/Wayland-Cohocton) and junior shortstop Jessica Harman (Penfield).

Cortland jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the top of the third inning when Cross scored on a Piedmont fielding error after Martin singled to left center and advanced to second on the play. After a walk and a double steal, Kohler hit a two-out double to score Harman from second base and Martin from third.

In the fourth, Weidman, Cross, and Meola opened the inning with singles in succession to set up Martin’s base clearing hit. After posting the opening out of the inning, sophomore left fielder Cassie Kardias (Shrub Oak/Lakeland) doubled to leftfield to score freshman pinch runner Charlotte Fried (Great Neck/Great Neck South) from second base and scored on a Piedmont infield error on the next play, advancing to third before scoring.

Senior B.J. Cofer (Woodstock, GA/Sequoyah) picked up her first tournament loss for the Lady Lions, giving up 10 hits, eight runs (seven earned) and a walk while striking out three batters. Cofer (15-9), who finished with a 3-1 tournament record and a 2.36 earned-run average, striking out 14 batters while giving up 10 hits, nine runs, and eight walks, joined shortstop Megan McClain and catcher Emily Cheek as All-Tournament representatives for the Lady Lions.