Huntsville - No. 5 Alabama-Huntsville is headed to the Division II Softball World Series after completing a sweep of 3rd-ranked Valdosta State 3-0 on Saturday in the finals of the South Super Regional. With the win, the Chargers will face Central Region winner No. 6 Winona State in the first round of the National Tournament in Salem, Va., May 21-25.
"All year we've worked for a shot at a national championship and now we have it," said UAH head coach Les Stuedeman, who is taking a team to the national finals for the third time. The Chargers were region champions in 1999 and 2001. On both occasions the tournament was in Salem.
Both teams threatened in the first inning getting runners into scoring position. However, neither was able to push across a run.
UAH got on the board in the third inning on a lead-off solo home run by centerfielder Erin Duke.
In the sixth inning, the Chargers padded their lead with a pair of runs. An RBI single by Caitlin Lee
made it 2-0, then pinch-runner Carly McGraw
scored on a ground-out by Whitney Schrimsher
to give UAH a three run lead.
That was all senior Sage Woodham
and sophomore closer Alex Lewis
would need as they combined to complete the team's second consecutive shutout. Woodham (20-1) pitched the first four innings, allowed four hits, struck out five and walked two. Lewis earned her Division II leading 16th save, working the final three innings. She held VSU to two hits and struck out one.
"We have preached shutouts all year to our pitchers and to get back to back shutouts against that team is amazing," Stuedeman commented.
Senior Brianna Collis (17-2) took the loss for VSU. She pitched five innings, allowed three runs on six hits. She had three strikeouts and a walk.
At the plate, Beth Lawson
was 2-for-4 for UAH. Duke's homer was her seventh of the season.
Stephanie Carlson had two hits for Valdosta State, who finished the season with a record of 57-8.