By Alfred Kojima, NAIA Tournament Writer
Video Highlights and Interviews | Click Here
GULF SHORES, Ala. - (Box Score) Senior center fielder Charlsie Broome played a key role as Shorter (Ga.) claimed its first-ever NAIA softball national championship, with a 1-0 victory over Oklahoma City Wednesday afternoon. The event is being played at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex for the second-straight year.
The LaFayette, Ga., native went 3-for-4 at the plate and scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. She also saved a run, taking away a home run by Oklahoma City's Lee Ann Lopez with two outs in the top of the ninth inning.
The loss denied a title for Oklahoma City, who was playing for their NAIA-record ninth national championship.
Oklahoma City concluded their season with a 47-20 record overall.
Shorter broke through in the ninth inning after missing out on scoring opportunities throughout the game. Shorter stranded 13 runners on base, including two in the seventh and eighth innings and the bases loaded in the third inning.
Freshman pitcher Maddie Bray, who was named the NAIA National Tournament Most Valuable Player, tossed a complete-game three-hit shutout. She struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Her counterpart in the circle, senior pitcher Lily LaVelle, struck out eight to establish a new national tournament record for strikeouts and innings pitched. The Bridge Creek, Okla. native struck out 88 batters in eight tournament games and lasted through 65.1 innings. On Wednesday, she surrendered seven hits and walked six, while throwing 161 total pitches.
In the top of the ninth, with two outs Lopez drove a ball to deep center field. Broome broke back to the fence, reached over and took away what more than likely would have been a go-ahead score.
"It was something we do at practice, we work on it, so I was prepared for it." Broome said. "It was routine and I had it all the way."
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Broome drove a ball to the right-center field gap. She raced around the bases and beat the relay throw to third base for a triple, her third base hit of the afternoon. After a walk to Jackie Castaneda, an infield single by Shorter's Emily Clements plated Broome with the winning run.
"I was thinking I had to do this for my teammates, " Clements said. "Charlsie ran as hard as she could to get to third and I was determined to get her in. I put in play on the right side and got her in to score the run."
Shorter ends its season with a 53-11 overall record.
Click here for more information on the national championship.
Title Game Notes
• This is the first national championship for Shorter in the sport of softball. The Lady Hawks are playing in their sixth-straight tournament and improve to an all-time 18-11 tournament record, including a 7-0 mark this year. Shorter had never made it to the round of four prior to this year.
• This is the ninth title game where the winning team has won by shutout. In 2011, Oregon Tech held off California Baptist, 1-0.
• The National Championship game has now been forced into extra innings on five occasions. Prior to this year, the last time that happened was in 2002, when Oklahoma City defeated Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), 2-1 in eight frames. The nine-inning game is one inning shy of tying the championship title game record of 10, set in 1988.
• Oklahoma City played in its 13th all-time national championship game (2012 - L; 2010 - L; 2007 - W; 2002 - W; 2001 - W; 2000 - W; 1999 - L; 1997 - W; 1996 - W; 1995 - W; 1994 - W; 1993 - L; 1986 - L). That stat is the most all-time in NAIA history. The Stars hold the most wins (110), most championship appearances (26) and most national championship titles (8).
2012 National Championship All-Tournament Team
Pos. Player School
P Courtney Allen Cal State San Marcos
P Jessica Bock Central Baptist (Ark.)
P Maddie Bray^ Shorter (Ga.)
P Kayla Duke Indiana Southeast
P Lily LaVelle Oklahoma City
P Anna Maness Brenau (Ga.)
P Brandi Richards Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)
1B Alyssa Dronenburg Cal State San Marcos
1B LeAnn Lopez Oklahoma City
SS Emily Clements Shorter (Ga.)
SS Alex Miller Cal State San Marcos
3B Tiffany Schandera Brenau (Ga.)
OF Charlsie Broome Shorter (Ga.)
OF Hannah Cook-Kelly William Carey (Miss.)
C Jackie Castaneda Shorter (Ga.)
C Kylee Rounsaville Oklahoma City
^ Tournament Most Valuable Player
Note: each position does not have to be represented on All-Tournament Team