SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – Valdosta State put on a dominating performance against Delta State to win its fourth consecutive Gulf South Conference Championship and sixth in the team’s history. The performance of Courtney Albritton led Valdosta State to a 9-1 victory in a six-inning game for the championship and to improve to 48-3 on the year.
Albritton went a perfect four for four with two singles, a double and a home run, just shy of the cycle. She scored three runs with two RBI to solidify her Most Outstanding Player bid for the tournament. Also with an impressive day was Clare Wamsley. She went two for three and knocked a triple and her second home run of the season down the left line, scoring two runs with one RBI. Morgan Johnson was also two for three while Marti Littlefield extended her conference RBI record with one on a one for two performance. Ashley Steinhilber picked up the winning RBI with a two-RBI double in the first inning.
Alanna Hadley improved to 26-2 for the season. She struck out two, walked two and allowed just four hits and one run.
Hadley joined Albritton on the GSC All-Tournament team along with Johnson and Samantha Posey, who notched an RBI in the championship game.
Albritton led off with a single and moved to second on Johnson’s sacrifice bunt. Littlefield walked next and then Natalia Morozova plated Albritton with a single up the middle. Steinhilber struck next with a double to scored what would be the winning RBI with Littlefield and Morozova coming in for an early 3-0 lead.
In the second inning, Albritton increased the VSU lead by one more run with a solo home run. Delta State was able to answer in the bottom of the third inning, moving Maggie Jackson around the bases for the only DSU run of the game. Unfortunately for Delta State, the Blazers weren’t finished.
Wamsley was next to reach base, knocking a triple down the right line in the top of the fourth. April Hutchens walked to place two runners on base. Albritton plated Wamsley with a single and then Johnson did the same for Hutchens.
Delta State was able to hold VSU scoreless in the fifth, but the Blazers could see the championship on the horizon and closed the game out with three runs in the sixth. Wamsley led off the inning with her home run down the left line. Albritton doubled next followed by a single from Johnson. Posey scored Albritton with a sacrifice fly and Littlefield extended the RBI record to 234 with a single to plate Johnson.
With the eight-run lead, Delta State was in danger of being run-ruled. Hadley retired three of four hitters in the inning to clinch the game.
Valdosta State is just the second team to win four consecutive GSC Championships, joining West Alabama, which won from 1988-91. The Blazers are now second on the all-time list in GSC Championships with six, tying West Alabama. Alabama-Huntsville has the lead with eight.
The Blazers’ season doesn’t end Sunday as they will likely host an NCAA South Regional in Valdosta, Ga., from Friday to Sunday. Stay tuned to www.vstateblazers.com for all the updates and tune in to www.ncaa.com at 10 a.m. Monday for the NCAA softball selection show.