Courtesy of CNU Athletic Communications
UNION, NJ - Christopher Newport got off to a fast start Friday afternoon as the ninth-ranked Captains opened the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Championship. CNU defeated the College of Staten Island, 10-2, in a game shortened to six innings due to the eight-run rule.
Sophomore designated player Patty Maye Ohanian led the way, smacking two home runs and going four-for-four with three runs scored and three runs batted in. Junior second baseman Grace Wild and freshman third baseman Bailey Roberts each also drove home three runs in the triumph, while Roberts and sophomore shortstop Natalie Carmichael also homered for the Captains.
"I thought we carried the momentum over from last weekend and showed a lot of energy today," Head Coach Keith Parr said. "When we come together and hit and pitch like we did today, we can beat anybody. It's all about momentum and playing with confidence, and now we need to keep playing at a high level."
The Captains, now 34-7, will play the host school, Kean University, on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. as the four-team regional continues. The Cougars, 38-6, downed Endicott in the first game of the day Friday, 2-0. Staten Island (18-16) and Endicott (32-6) will play Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in an elimination game. In the final game Saturday at 5:00 p.m., the losing teams of the first two games will meet in another elimination battle.
Christopher Newport scored in the first four innings Friday and built a 9-0 lead before the Dolphins were able plate two in the fifth. CNU closed out the game with a Roberts single in the sixth scoring Wild with the run to push the lead to eight to end the game. The Captains out-hit the Dolphins, 14-3
Ohanian, who now has 12 home runs this season, hit a solo shot to open the third inning, and then added a two-run blast in the fourth. She also singled and doubled in her perfect day at the plate.
"Last year I think I came out of my shell a little in the NCAA's and this year it's the same thing," Ohanian said. "I like to show up when the pressure is on and love to compete. I think we all had a lot of energy, and I was confidant at the plate. We all have different roles on this team and different approaches at the plate, and we compete against each other in a friendly way to make each other better."
Roberts smacked her ninth home run of the year, a two-run dinger in the first, and Carmichael knocked her second long ball of the year, a solo blast in the second frame. CNU, the top home run hitting team in the nation, now has recorded 63 round-trippers in 41 games.
Sophomore Emily Weatherholtz was the beneficiary of all the run scoring, as she threw four scoreless innings to improve her record to 14-1 this season. Weatherholtz struck out five and allowed just one hit.
"I missed last year's NCAA Tournament because I was injured," Weatherholtz said. "It was exciting to be able to be a part of it. My teammates got a lot of runs early and made me confident. They really lifted me up with the way we played today."
Christopher Newport had never played the College of Staten Island in softball before Friday's NCAA opener. Saturday, the Captains will play a Kean program that they are 3-8 all-time against. Two seasons ago, the Cougars took two of three over the Captains in Union in an NCAA Regional at Cougars Softball Field.
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