May 11, 2013
Tournament MVP Morgan Lashleywent the distance in both shutout wins as No. 2 seeded Army defeated top-seeded Lehigh twice, 4-0 and 5-0, to win the 2013 Patriot League Softball title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament Saturday at Kaufman Field.
Kasey McCraveydrove in two runs and Army exploded for 11 hits in a 4-0 win as the Black Knights avoided elimination in the first game to force the second and deciding game for the championship title.
Rae Anne Payleitner'sthree-run homer keyed Army's 5-0 championship win as the Black Knights captured their fifth Patriot League Tournament title and first since 2002.
After handing two-time defending champion Lehigh its first loss of the tournament, the Black Knights picked up where they left off in the championhip game in jumping on LHP Emily Bausher for five runs on five hits (two for extra bases) in their first at-bat. Alex Reynolds' single to right center field knocked in Amanda Nguyenfor the first run after she reached on an infield error.
Payleitner smacked a home run with one out scoring Christian McKone, who singled, and Reynolds to boost Army's lead to 4-0. The Black Knights added their final run on Maria Northup's double scoring April Ortenzo, who singled.
Though Bausher kept Army off the scoreboard the rest of the game, the damage had been done and the Black Knights made that stand.
Lashley (29-12) was superb in the circle retiring 17 straight batters after yielding her second hit of the game in the first inning.
In the first game, Army jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on McCravey's solo blast and team-leading fifth home run of the season off Patriot League Pitcher of the Year Rebecca Bliss (20-7), who was raked for 11 hits.
Army padded its lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the third inning on RBI singles by McKone and McCravey. The Black Knights closed out the scoring on Bernadette Cardon's RBI single delivering pinch runner Savanna Aversain the sixth.
After yielding her lone hit, an infield single to the first batter she faced, Lashley struck out four and walked three in recording her 28th win of the season and career 61st to become Army's all-time leader.
Joining Lashley on the all-tournament team were Payleitner, McKone and Nguyen. Lashley hurled Army to all four wins for a 1.55 earned run average, struck out 15 and issued nine walks in posting a .173 opponent batting average.
The Black Knights (35-24) will find out their NCAA regional destination Sunday evening on ESPNU at 10 p.m.