SALEM, Va. – Second-seeded Randolph-Macon was eliminated by the tournament's top seed, Virginia Wesleyan in an elimination game at the Old Dominion Athletic Tournament in Salem, Va. in an extra-inning battle 6-5. Randolph-Macon will now await the NCAA Tournament field selection. The team is ranked fourth in the nation and second in the region.
Virginia Wesleyan struck first in the bottom of the first inning as Katelyn Biando hit Kiersten Richardson home. Richardson had walked to lead off the inning.
Randolph-Macon answered. Senior Harley Jones (Brodnax, Va. / Brunswick) walked to lead the inning off herself. Then, sophomore Sami Davidson (Stafford, Va. / Brooke Point) sacrificed herself on a bunt to moved Jones to second. Sophomore Shelby Hill (Mechanicsville, Va. / St. Margaret's) singled to move Jones to third. Hill would steal second base before the next out as well. Then with two outs, sophomore Taylor Sanderford (Mechanicsville, Va. / Atlee) was hit by a pitch to load the bases full of Yellow Jackets. Sophomore Maddie Stone (Glen Allen, Va. / Glen Allen) put the ball in play and scored Jones, though would not get the RBI because of an error on VWU pitcher Hanna Hull.
VWU retook the lead in the bottom of the second as Julia Sinnett homered to left field.
Down by one, Randolph-Macon worked to answer again. Junior Candace Whittemore (Montpelier, Va. / Patrick Henry) singled to lead off the inning, followed by fellow junior Savannah Wood (Tappahannock, Va. / Essex), who singled advancing Wood. Jones sacrificed herself to move both runners, allowing the next batter, Davidson, to hit them both home with a single through the right side.
With the 3-2 lead, R-MC held off VWU in the bottom of the third. But VWU came back with the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Cassetty Howerin, who was 4-4 on the day, singled home two runs in the inning, giving VWU the 4-3 lead.
In the top of the sixth, the Yellow Jackets got the tie as Hill arrived at second on an error by the VWU center fielder. She stole third and continued to home after VWU catcher Jessica Lindsay misplayed the throw.
Randolph-Macon also got a score in the top of the seventh. Davidson scored her third RBI of the day, scoring Kerstin Roth to go up 5-4. Roth had singled to lead the inning off and had been advanced by Whittemore earlier in the inning.
VWU responded with a score of their own in the bottom of the seventh. Two straight singles put a pair of runners on for R-MC. Freshman pitcher Madie Rhoads (Portsmouth, Va. / Nansemond River) came in to pitch, but gave up a hit to Biando, which scored one run and tied the game at 5-5.
After forcing extra innings, the VWU defense and pitching of VWU's Hanna Hull helped to strand the R-MC International Tie-Break runner at third.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the ITB runner came around to score after a sacrifice bunt resulted in a throwing error by R-MC, winning the game for the Marlins 6-5.
Whittemore finished 2-3 with a run scored. She also pitched six innings, allowing seven hits, five runs, four walks and struck out four. Rhoads also secured a strikeout, though was tagged with the loss, her second of the season.
Davidson was also 2-3 with all three of R-MC's RBI's on the day. Wood went 1-3 and junior Kerstin Roth (Yorktown, Va. / Grafton) was 1-4.