Winthrop ends Lancer’s Big South softball run

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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Winthrop sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the sixth inning, scoring seven runs and went on for a 7-3 victory over the Longwood softball team in the 2024 Big South Championship at Terry Field on Saturday.

The No. 3-seed Eagles (25-28) advance to the championship series to face top-seeded USC Upstate, needing to defeat the Spartans twice to take the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Lancers built a 3-0 lead though five and a half innings with freshman left-hander Cierra Gawryluk cruising before the decisive inning. Gawryluk retired the first 10 Eagles she faced on the day and 15 of 17 hitters overall.

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“When I think of this year all I can say is how incredibly proud I am of our team,” Longwood head coach Dr. Megan Brown said. “Their grit, determination and fight is second to none. I am so thankful for our seniors who gave the team and this program everything they had every day they were here. So grateful to our amazing fans and for all the support of the Longwood family. We truly cannot do what we do without you. Thank you.”

Winthrop loaded the bases to begin the sixth inning as Gawryluk walked Grayson Buckner and Paige Rivas and Ashton VanHouse singled. Emma Jackson followed with a single and Kayley DeVivi’s throw from right field was offline, allowing Rivas to come home and cut the lead to 3-2.

Gawryluk was lifted for Er’ron Burton, who walked KaDedra Temple to load the bases again. After VanHouse was retired at the plate on a fielder’s choice, Reese Basinger did the same. On that play, Avery Drake’s throw to the plate from second base was wild, scoring two more and giving the Eagles a 4-3 lead.


Ansley Lee homered to center field to open the four-run lead, before Gawryluk re-entered, averting further trouble.

Longwood opened the scoring in the bottom of the third. Drake and Lauren Fox hit consecutive singles and two batters later Sophia Knock singled to left, plating Fox for a 1-0 lead.

The Lancers added two in the fifth when Emily Vinson singled through the right side with two out, scoring Knock and DeVivi.


The loss for Longwood, which ends the season at 19-33 overall, marked the final game of the careers for five seniors — Korynna Anderson, Peyton Coleman, DeVivi, Fox and Taylor. The group was part of 121 victories and two Big South regular-season titles.