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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Chowan Hawks Claim 6-1 CIAA Softball Championship over Bowie State’s Bulldogs

PETERSBURG, Va. – In one of Bowie State’s most successful seasons in quite some time came to an end on Saturday afternoon, falling 6-1 to the Chowan University Hawks in the CIAA softball championship. Today’s game marked the first appearance back into the championship since the Bulldogs claimed a 3-peat in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The loss sets Bowie State’s season ending record at 22-20 and as Co-Champions of the CIAA Northern Division.  

The Bulldogs managed only four hits in the title game with juniors Ja’seph Smith and Jacqueline Pickering both of Bowie, Md., Nicoleen Ochoa (Madison, Ohio) and Inaya Jones (Baltimore, Md.) accounting for one hit each. Junior Stefanie Ray (Damascus, Md.) pitched six innings, struck out two, walked two and gave up nine hits, closing her season record at 18-9.

Bowie State delivered the first blow in the contest in the top of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead.  After a quick out to start the inning, the Bulldogs posted back-to-back hits to put a runner in scoring position.  A sacrifice fly and aggressive base running allowed the Bulldogs to get on the board.

Chowan countered in the bottom of the inning to take the lead and never looked back.  Katrina Simmons started off the inning with an infield single to the shortstop.  Simmons would swipe second and moved to third tagging up on a fly out.  Danielle Baccus hit a single to right field to knot things at 1-all.  Tina White gave the Hawks the lead with a triple to left center for the 2-1 advantage.

Kayla Robins settled in during the second inning striking out the side.

Kris Neal pushed the Hawk advantage to 3-1 in the bottom of the second inning after a lead-off triple.  Neal would score later in the inning on a wild pitch.

Chowan tacked on another run in the bottom of the third inning on a walk, single and a Bulldog error to lead 4-1.  Haley Cooper drew a one-out walk before White moved her to second on a single through the left side. Brittany Parson brought home Cooper after reaching on an error by the Bulldogs' third baseman.

The Hawks continued to score in the bottom of the fourth and kept the Bulldogs at-bay.  Shannon Buchanan walked to lead off the fourth.  Emily Stafford reached on an infield single to put a runner in scoring position. Cooper would deliver with two outs with a double down the left field line to push the Hawks' lead to 5-1.

Bowie State made some noise in the top of the sixth inning getting two runners on base.  The Bulldogs started the inning with Pickering reaching base via a Chowan miscue and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jones. Ochoa’s single through the left side of the infield put runners on the corners.  Chowan’s Robins would get the final two outs of the inning to stop the threat.

Chowan posted their final run of the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning after a lead-off single by Emily Stafford turned into a three-base effort following an error by the Bulldog outfield.  Brook Bowen brought home Stafford on a sacrifice fly to left and give the Hawks a 6-1 advantage.

The Bulldogs tried to rally in the top of the seventh loading the bases with two outs.  A Jaelyn Belt (Glen Burnie, Md.) walk and a Smith bunt single sparked the rally.  Bowie State loaded the bases after a drop third strike got away from the catcher.  Chowan settled down and recorded the final out of the game on a fly out.

Ray, Smith and sophomore Tiffany Bearns (Lusby, Md.) were Bowie State representatives on the All-Tournament Team.

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