BURLINGTON, N.C. -- No. 3 Richard Bland College dropped two of three games to No. 1 Pitt (N.C.) Community College at the 2017 NJCAA Region 10 Softball Championship on Saturday at Springwood Park in Burlington, North Carolina. The top-seeded Bulldogs won back-to-back games by scores of 13-9 and 6-4 to claim the tournament title and an automatic bid to the national tournament after the third-seeded Statesmen had won the first game of the day by a score of 9-4. Richard Bland finishes the 2017 season with a final record of 25-21, the second-most wins in program history.
Against Pitt in the title game, Richard Bland scored four runs on eight hits, scoring two runs in the third inning and one run each in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the third, trailing 4-0, freshman Kennedy Presson/Wakefield (1-3, RBI) had an RBI double to score sophomore Morgan Whitley/Franklin (3-3), and Presson crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by freshman Brooklynn Bilyard/Culpeper (0-1, RBI).
In the sixth, freshman Ashley Fritz/North Chesterfield (2-3, RBI) had a run-scoring single to plate sophomore Tabby Dabney/Mechanicsville (1-3). In the seventh, sophomore Sierra Johnson/Capron (0-0, RBI) provided a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to score Whitley.
Whitley had three hits, while Fritz collected two hits in the game for Richard Bland.
Dabney (5-7) started in the circle and tossed the first 2.0 innings in defeat, three hits and four runs, one earned, with no strikeouts and one walk. Bilyard pitched the final 4.0 innings, scattering five hits and two runs, both earned, with six strikeouts and one walk.
Against Pitt in the middle game, which would have resulted in the region championship with a win, Richard Bland scored nine runs on eight hits, scoring two runs in the first inning, one run each in both the fourth and fifth innings, three runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh inning. In the first, Dabney (1-3, 2 RBIs) had an RBI double to score Bilyard (0-3, RBI), and Dabney crossed the plate on a run-scoring single by Fritz (2-4, RBI).
In the fourth, Presson (3-4, 3 RBIs) added an RBI double to score Whitley (0-2). In the fifth, Bilyard scored again courtesy of a fielder's choice from freshman Kay'Lee Justice/Suffolk (0-4, RBI). In the sixth, Presson had a run-scoring single to plate sophomore Katelyn King/Chesterfield (1-3), Bilyard added a sacrifice fly to score Whitley and Presson crossed the plate when Dabney drew a bases-loaded walk. In the seventh, Presson had another RBI single to score Fritz and King scored on a two-out error.
Presson had three hits, while Fritz collected two hits in the game for Richard Bland.
Sophomore Shannon Buffington/Virginia Beach started in the circle and tossed the first 2.0 innings, allowing three hits and three runs, all earned, with no strikeouts and two walks. Bilyard (9-3) pitched 1.2 innings in defeat, yielding three hits and three runs, all unearned, with no strikeouts and two walks. Sophomore Katelyn Cobb/Newsoms tossed the final 2.1 innings, allowing six hits and seven runs, two earned, with no strikeouts and two walks.
Against Pitt in the first game, Richard Bland scored nine runs on 15 hits, scoring two runs in the first inning, four runs in the third, two runs in the sixth and one run in the seventh inning. In the first, Bilyard (3-5, 4 RBIs) and freshman Taylor Daniel/Alberta (3-4) opened the contest with a pair of singles and Bilyard scored when Dabney (0-4) reached on an error, and Daniel scored when King (3-5, 2 RBIs) reached on an infield single.
In the third, Bilyard provided the big hit of the game … a grand slam home run that also scored Whitley (1-4), Presson (3-5, RBI) and sophomore August Ringer/Yale (1-2, RBI). Whitley had reached on an error with two outs before Presson singled and Ringer drew a walk to load the bases. It was Bilyard's sixth homer this season, and her second grand slam in 2017.
In the sixth, the Statesmen once-again managed runs with two outs … getting RBI singles from Presson and Ringer, respectively. In the seventh, King added another run-scoring single that scored Daniel.
Bilyard, Daniel, King and Presson each collected three hits in the game for Richard Bland.
Cobb started in the circle and tossed the first 2.0 innings, scattering four hits and one run, earned, with one strikeout and no walks. Bilyard pitched the final 5.0 innings in victory, allowing five hits and three runs, all earned, with three strikeouts and four walks.
Richard Bland completed the campaign as Region 10 Tournament runners-up for the second time in three years, including 2015 when the Statesmen (32-12) fell to Surry (N.C.) Community College in the title contest (3-1). Richard Bland established new program records for games (46), batting average (.374), at bats (1356), runs (384), hits (507), home runs (29), doubles (104), RBIs (320), total bases (732), slugging percentage (.540) and on base percentage (.436).