WEST CHESTER, PA (WDTV) - (Courtesy of West Virginia Wesleyan athletics)
World Series Bound!
The West Virginia Wesleyan softball team can finally make that statement today after they defeated the West Chester Rams in the 'if' game by a 10-1 score in the fifth inning on the mercy rule in the NCAA Division II Super Regional Tournament.
After several near misses for head coach Steve Warner and his Lady Bobcat teams in the past in the Super Regional, it was his 2017 squad that finally broke that long-time barrier.
The stoic Warner remarked after the win, "After the birth of my two sons, this is the happiest day of my life."
And it should be as his Lady Bobcats battled the heat and a determined West Chester team.
In near 90 degree temperatures, Wesleyan dropped a 3-2 decision in the first game of the day.
Wesleyan fell behind in game one after West Chester scored a run in the top of the first.
Wesleyan tied the game in the bottom of the first when Olivia Gore singled through the left side scoring Tori Pogue.
The Lady Bobcats took the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Pogue singled to left field that scored pinch runner Olivia Kula. Wesleyan took the lead, 2-1, but had the bases loaded with no outs and only scored the one run.
West Chester took the lead for good in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs.
Wesleyan had six hits with Gore and Krista Waggoner each getting two.
Hannah Vet (26-4) suffered the tough loss in a complete game.
She gave up three earned runs on 11 hits while fanning two.
Warner said the first-game defeat didn't deter his team.
"Following the loss, they were ready to go back out there and play again," Warner said. "They are a resilient team."
Wesleyan shook off that first loss and dominated West Chester in game two.
The Lady Bobcats struck first in the top of the first when Morgan Bruce hit a one-run single that scored Brooklyn Waddell.
After Wesleyan gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the first, Waddell tagged a ball over the left field fence in the third inning and Bruce hit a one-run single to treat Wesleyan to a 3-1 advantage.
Wesleyan pushed their lead to 6-1 in the top of the third.
Gore hit a two-run triple and Jessica Rodriguez added a one-run double for the scoring.
Wesleyan chased across four runs in the top of the fifth to put the game away.
Sayaka Foley was brilliant in the circle as she went the distance to improve her record to 18-3.
Wesleyan, now 49-8, will find out on Sunday who and when they will be playing in the NCAA Division II World Series.
The World Series will be played in Salem, Va. and will be co-hosted by the Mountain East Conference.