Longwood softball upsets another Top 10 team with walk-off
Published 1:23 am Thursday, April 27, 2023
FARMVILLE – Apparently shocking the softball world once wasn’t enough for Longwood softball.
They did it again.
The Lancers pulled off another massive upset Wednesday night, claiming a 4-3 walk-off victory over the No. 8 Duke Blue Devils at home. The win marks the sixth Top 25 win under head coach Dr. Megan Brown and second of the season following Longwood’s upset of No. 4 Florida State in February.
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Junior Peyton Coleman, from nearby Alberta, Virginia, ran home the game-winning run for Longwood after Emily Vinson reached on an error in the bottom of the seventh.
“Just proud of our young women,” Brown said after the win. “There’s a tremendous amount of people on this campus that pour into our program every single day. I feel humbled and grateful for all the support we have and I’m so proud of our young ladies.”
Longwood (25-16, 11-3) fought tooth and nail the whole way through, as neither side was able to muster more than a two-run lead.
The win wasn’t easy
Although the Lancers were victorious, the win certainly did not come easy. Duke (40-9, 16-5) outhit Longwood nine to four, however, Brown’s team made the necessary plans to sneak away with the win.
“We wanted to schedule a really strong preseason to prepare us for this time of year when we’re going to face really good teams,” said Brown. “Every team is going to fight, and as we’re coming down the stretch, it’s going to be a fight on every pitch of every single game.”
After conceding an early run in the first, the Lancers responded in kind with three runs of their own in the first inning. Lauren Taylor connected on a two-run homer while Kayley DeVivi scored on a wild pitch to put Longwood ahead 3-1.
Slowly but surely, the Blue Devils crawled back into the game, eventually tying the contest 3-3 in the top of the seventh.
With the pressure turned all the way up, the Lancers found a way to deliver. Coleman’s dash to home plate off of a Duke throwing error walked it off, and the celebration for the team and Longwood fans in attendance began.
The team wouldn’t have been in a position to pull off a win of this magnitude without the contributions of Longwood’s pitching staff. Maggie Chapin, Er’ron Burton and Reggie Kanagawa gave up a combined two earned runs against a Duke side that sits at fourth in the ACC in batting average.
“[The pitching staff] has been working really hard lately,” said Brown. “The extra bullpens, the extra time, learning to trust their hard work and pitches. That’s been a big part of it…when they and our team works together, that’s when we’re at our best.
Coming up next
Following Wednesday’s upset, Longwood hits the road tomorrow to take on Radford at 2 p.m. due to changes in this weekend’s Big South conference series.
“Get some rest tonight, make sure they’re ready to roll tomorrow,” said Brown. “Radford is very good, so we’ll have to have a good plan for them and play it pitch to pitch because they’re going to be ready to roll.”