Season ends for Longwood softball after Big South Championship

Published 5:27 pm Saturday, May 13, 2023

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After 32 wins, two top-ten upsets, and a Big South regular season title, the 2023 campaign for the Longwood softball team has come to an end. The Lancers forced a winner-take-all Big South Championship game, but fell by a score of 7-5 in the final innings.

The Lancers (32-21) were led by Er’ron Burton in the circle, who threw a complete game shutout in game one while starting and tossing five innings in game two. Timely hitting and Big South Pitcher of the Year Isabella Smith’s save helped Campbell (41-16) claim their third-straight championship.

“Just great fight, that’s been this team’s M.O. all year,” said head coach Dr. Megan Brown. “They’re never out of a game, they’re never out of a fight. They emptied the tank, and that’s all we can ask.”

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Kayley DeVivi, who walked off USC Upstate to send Longwood to the championship final, continued her hot hand to begin the day. She connected on a two-run homer in the top of the first of game one for what proved to be the winning runs.

Kelly Park and Emily Vinson also recorded hits in the Lancers’ methodical game one victory. Burton, who earned her 14th win of the season, struck out six batters while only conceding three hits in the win.

Big South Championship goes to final game

Game two ended up being a good one, as the lead changed hands between Longwood and Campbell three times. The Camels struck first in the top of the first inning, but the Lancers swiftly responded off of a Korynna Anderson RBI double and Lindsey Hay dash home on a wild pitch to lead 2-1 after two.

The Longwood softball team was able to tie the contest at four apiece in the fifth inning, but Tournament MVP Claudia Ware’s RBI double and Makayla McClain’s two-RBI single in the sixth inning proved to be the winning runs for Campbell.

“[This year’s team] did things that have never been done for the program,” said Dr. Brown. “I’m grateful for our seniors, who took the torch a little bit further and have left us in a great place to continue to grow and continue to build on great traditions.”

Longwood players named to All-Tournament team

Following the final game, three Lancers were selected to the Big South Championship All-Tournament team. Burton, DeVivi, and Korynna Anderson earned tournament honors for their efforts.

Longwood now sets its sights on the offseason and the upcoming 2024 season. Following a season that saw the Lancers shock the softball world with wins over No. 4 Florida State and No. 8 Duke and earn a share of the Big South regular season championship, the future certainly looks bright in Farmville.

“Two top-ten wins, countless comebacks, countless great games, a regular season championship,” said Dr. Brown. “I couldn’t be more proud of them and grateful for their fight and grit.”

In addition, the Lancers will welcome seven new faces to Farmville this fall to help round out the team’s 2024 roster.

“We’re excited for our ’23 class coming in, we have seven young ladies that will be very exciting for the program,” said Dr. Brown. “We love our kids that our graduating, so we have to replace them. I’ll catch my breath on the bus and get back to work in the morning.