On a wild day in Lynchburg, Virginia, the host school Liberty Flames battled through three games to reach the final contest of the 2017 NISC against Lamar. After adverse weather moved over the Liberty Softball Stadium, continuing the contest was no longer an option for tournament officials. By rule, the last completed inning became the final score, resulting in Liberty capturing the title, 3-1, in five innings.
Junior Tori Zavodny became the hero in the championship’s first contest against the Cardinals. With two runners on, trailing Lamar 5-4 and down to final three outs, Zavodny rocketed a home run over the right field fence to jump on top, 7-5. The Flames would add an insurance run and hold on to force the “if” game in the double-elim format, winning 8-5.
Pitching was the early story in the second game between the Cardinals and Flames. Through the first two and one half innings, each team’s offense was relatively silent. Then came the Bishop sisters. Amber and Autumn each dialed up a single before Alexia Taylor drove the first run of the ballgame. Two more runs in the inning gave Liberty the 3-0 advantage.
Brynn Baca kickstarted Lamar in the fifth inning and would eventually score via an RBI single from Kenzie Meeuwsen. Laura Napoli and Anissa Rodriguez each pitched well for the Cardinals, combining for three strikeouts and only two walks.
Julia Dimartino moved to 22-10 on the year, striking out four and scattering three hits in the championship win.
2017 NISC All-Tournament Team
Tori Zavodny - Tournament MVP