SALEM, Va. — West Liberty won twice against West Virginia State to win the 2021 Mountain East Conference Softball Tournament on Sunday at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex.
The Hilltoppers claim the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division II Championship. West Virginia State, along with other MEC teams, will have to hope for an at-large berth into the tournament.
The Hilltoppers (34-15) dropped to the consolation bracket yesterday after a 4-0 loss to the Yellow Jackets (29-13). West Liberty won an elimination game last night against Frostburg State to move on to Sunday’s championship.
In the first game, West Liberty trailed 2-1 in the top of the sixth, but Katie Beeman hit a solo shot to knot the game. The game moved to extra innings, and WLU once again used the long ball in the ninth as Annie Paterson hit a home run to right center to put the Hilltoppers up 3-2. West Virginia State got a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the inning, but Riley Bennington worked her way out of the jam to get the win.
Paterson went 2 for 4 on the day, and Bennington went all nine innings giving up two runs on five hits.
Kasey Murphy worked all nine for WVSU as well allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. She was also 1 for 3.
In the second game, Murphy helped put the Yellow Jackets in front 1-0 with a solo home run to center field. MEC Player of the Year Kat Donzella sparked the comeback in the fifth inning with an RBI double to tie the score. She later moved to third and then scored what turned out to be the game-winning run by stealing home.
West Liberty then added two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Makenzie Amend and Connor Assif had an RBI single to push the lead to 4-1. West Virginia State got a runner aboard in the bottom of the seventh but Makenzie Amend closed things out with a pair of strikeouts to seal the championship for West Liberty.
West Liberty finished game two with 12 hits. Donzella was 3 for 4, while Assif, Allie Cook and Riley Conkle each had two hits.
Paterson went the first three innings for WLU, and then Amend went the final four innings giving up no runs and just one hit.
Lindsay Phares and Murphy each had two hits for WVSU. Autumn Thompson took the loss pitching 7.0 innings giving up four runs on 12 hits.