ATLANTA, GA.—A home run barrage in the first led Trine to a 6-2 victory over Emory in the Atlanta Super-Regional to earn the Thunder their first-ever berth in the NCAA Division III National Championship.
Leah Hall (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) hit a grand slam as part of a five-run first and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Atlanta Super-Regional. Catherine Porter (Canton, Mich./Plymouth Canton) homered to cap off the scoring in the big opening frame. Bree Fuller (Hubbardston, Mich../Fulton) picked up the victory in the clincher, while Justine Robles (Long Beach, Calif./Lakewood) came out of the bullpen to pick up her first-career save. Fuller was named the Most Outstanding Pitcher of the tournament. Emory concludes the season 39-9 overall. Trine will travel to Tyler, Texas for the NCAA Division III National Championships, where they will open play Thursday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. under the lights against Montclair State. The trip to Texas will be the first-ever appearance for any Trine softball team in the National Championships.
The Thunder came out with their bats on fire, loading the bases with one out to set the stage for Hall. The junior pummeled the first pitch for a no-doubt grand slam to dead center to make the score 4-0. The homer was Hall’s fifth of the season, and the second postseason grand slam of her Trine career.
Porter continued the Thunder power surge, as the freshman lined a solo shot deep into the trees beyond the left field fence to give Trine a 5-0 lead before Emory had a chance to hit. Porter’s homer was her fifth of the season.
Melody Carter got Emory on the board in the bottom of the first with a solo home run to left-center to cut the score to 5-1.
Pitchers Fuller and Brittany File shut down each team’s respective bats until Emory broke through again in the sixth on a solo home run by UAA Most Valuable Player Megan Light. The Eagles threatened to do further damage, but a 4-6-3 double play induced by Robles helped keep Trine keep Emory off the board.
Fuller picked up the victory with five strong innings of work, scattering five hits and two earned runs. The junior walked one and struck out three to record her school-record 24th victory of the season. The Most Outstanding Pitcher of the Super-Regional award adds to a list of accolades that has included MIAA Pitcher of the Year, Academic All-District, All-Region, and All-Regional Tournament honors this season.
Robles earned the save with two innings of shutout relief. The sophomore allowed three hits and struck out one. Robles allowed just one earned run in 4.1 innings of relief work in the Super Regional.
Hall batted .500 (3-for-6) with a home run, five RBI’s, two walks and two runs scored to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. The right fielder was a Second-Team All-MIAA honoree this season.