CORTLAND, New York – The Student Princes have been crowned queens of the region.
A big fourth inning helped the Heidelberg University softball team defeat DeSales University, 5-1. With the win, the Tricolor won the Cortland Regional and will advance to super-regionals. The Student Princes defeated each of the three other teams in the bracket.
The Bulldogs took an early lead. DJ McCauley hit an RBI single to right center, scoring Michelle Gessner. McCauley tried to stretch the hit into a double, but Randi Kelsey made a strong throw to Kayla Zachrich at second to nab the Bulldog pitcher.
Heidelberg (33-8) answered right away. Taylor Hicks led off with a slap double inside the left field line, then moved to third on a grounder to second. With two outs, Mikaela Mitsch served a single to right center to drive in the run.
With a runner on second and two outs in the top of the third, DeSales tested the arm of HU center fielder Taylor Hicks. Gessner was waved around on a single to center, Hicks – with guns blazing – threw a perfect strike to Mitsch at the plate for the final out.
In the bottom of the frame, Kyleah Brey slashed a two-run home run to right center, giving the Student Princes their first lead of the day. With the bases empty, Heidelberg was able to reload and push two more runs across. Randi Kelsey and Taylor Hicks executed a delayed double steal, then scored on a basehit by Renee Lovett.
Paige Atterholt (18-3) threw her third complete game of the tournament, striking out three and allowing just the one run on five hits.
"I'm so proud of the way we handled our business this weekend," said head coach Betsy Hada. "It was a long trip for us, but we battled every inning, every at bat, every pitch."
Atterholt, Hicks, Mitsch, Lovett and Brey were all named to the All-Tournament team. Brey was selected as the most outstanding player.
Heidelberg advances to face Alfred University in the super-regional next weekend. The site has not been determined.