ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – The Hampton University softball team won the 2013 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament championship on Saturday at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex after splitting two games with Norfolk State.
The Lady Pirates won their first MEAC title since 1996.
In beating the Spartans 7-3 in the second game, the Lady Pirates (34-24) won their 15th game in their last 18 tries.
Head coach Trena Peel was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Coach. Freshman Taylor McCoy (Riverview, Fla.) was named Most Outstanding Performer, and she was named to the All-Tournament Team along with junior Margaret Wilkins (Tustin, Calif.) and sophomore Jailynn Jackson (Virginia Beach, Va.).
Hampton broke out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the second game, loading the bases with nobody out before senior Nina Ferguson (Plymouth, Minn.) singled to left center field to bring in two runs. After a Spartans pitching change, McCoy scored when sophomore Kerissa Burruel (Phoenix, Ariz.) reached on a fielder’s choice.
Norfolk State scored a run in the top of the fourth, cutting Hampton’s lead to 3-1 after Kathy Cortez scored on an error.
The Lady Pirates answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, starting with a leadoff home run to center field from senior Shine Huwe (Green Bay, Wisc.) – her fourth of the season. Freshman Diamond Ponds (Riverside, Calif.) later scored on an error to put Hampton up 5-1.
McCoy later added an RBI single to give the Lady Pirates a 6-1 lead.
Huwe then doubled to center field in the bottom of the fifth, scoring senior Carla Trimble (Riverside, Calif.) to give Hampton a 7-1 lead.
The Spartans rallied in the top of the seventh inning, loading the bases and pushing across two unearned runs to cut Hampton’s lead to 7-3. But with the bases loaded and two outs, Langlois got Cortez to pop out to shortstop to end the game and clinch the title.
Langlois led the way at the plate in the second game, going 3-for-4, while Huwe and Wilkins each added two hits. Sophomore Bianca Vallejo (Chandler, Ariz.) scored two runs, and Ferguson and Huwe each drove in two runs.
Langlois went the distance in the circle, picking up her sixth win of the season. She scattered six hits and gave up three runs, all unearned. Langlois also struck out two batters.
Norfolk State (31-22) won the first game 10-3, forcing another contest.
The Spartans struck first with two runs in the top of the first inning, taking a 2-0 lead following an RBI single from Whitney Williams and an RBI double from MEAC Player of the Year Haley Ward.
Hampton got on the board in the bottom of the third, when Wilkins to left center field to bring home Trimble and cut Norfolk State’s lead to 2-1.
Norfolk State pushed across five runs in the top of the fifth, taking a 7-1 lead. The inning included a pair of two-run singles, from Cortez and Robyn Mitchell.
The Lady Pirates cut the lead to 7-2 in the bottom of the inning, when Vallejo scored on a fielding error.
But the Spartans scored again in the top of the sixth to take an 8-2 lead, and Hampton answered in the bottom of the sixth. Langlois reached base on a single before advancing to third, then she scored on a groundout from Ferguson.
Williams singled home two runs in the seventh to give Norfolk State a 10-3 lead and force another game.
The Lady Pirates were held to just four hits in the first game.
Jackson recorded four strikeouts in six innings of work, giving her 248 for the season and breaking the program’s single-season record. Tara Midgett set the old mark in 1995 with 246 strikeouts.
For more information on Hampton University softball, please call the Office of Sports Information at (757) 727-5811, or visit the official Pirates website at www.hamptonpirates.com.