SALEM, Va. – West Virginia Wesleyan battled to the very end but was beaten by top-seeded Angelo State in a 6-5 in a marathon 12-inning contest that lasted nearly four hours on day two of the NCAA Division II Softball World Series.
Wesleyan raced out to a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning when Tori Pogue walked, advanced to second on a single by Brooklyn Waddell and scored on a single back up the middle by Olivia Gore.
The Lady Bobcats made it a 2-0 game in the bottom of the fourth when Morgan Bruce (pictured) hit a solo home run over the left field fence. It was her second home run of the World Series.
The Rambelles managed their first lead in the top of the sixth inning on a two-run home run from Courtney Barnhill, and then Danae Bina had a bunt single to make it 3-2.
Angelo State made it 4-2 in the top of the seventh Kennedy Urbany singled home Brooke Mangold.
Wesleyan was down to their last out in the bottom of the seventh with runners at first and second base.
Gore hit a routine fly ball to left field, but the Angelo State left fielder dropped the ball allowing both Pogue and Taylor Barnett to score deadlocking the game at 4-4 and forcing extra innings.
Angelo State scored a run in the top of the ninth but the scrappy Lady 'Cats matched that run to keep the game going.
Gore hit a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Pogue for the run to make it a 5-5 contest.
Angelo State's game-winning run came in the top of the 12th when Taegan Kirk hit a ball into the gap in right center and a pair of Lady Bobcat outfielders collided allowing Urbany to score.
Wesleyan couldn't muster a comeback in the bottom of the 12th inning as they were retired in order.
"I know the girls are disappointed, but they have nothing to be ashamed of," remarked head coach Steve Warner. "This arguably could have been the national championship game. The team has battled back all year long. I told them just don't let this be your defining moment in the World Series."
The Lady Bobcats managed nine hits with Waddell being the only player to record a multi-hit game with three.
Hannah Vet started the game and went six innings earning a no-decision.
Sayaka Foley (18-4) pitched the final six innings and suffered the loss. She allowed just one earned run on seven hits while striking out six.
Angelo State (59-5) will now advance to the winner's bracket finals Saturday at 4 p.m.
Wesleyan (50-9) will play the winner of the Southern Indiana-West Florida game Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in an elimination game.
If they win that game, they will play again Saturday at 6:30 p.m. against the Minnesota State-Armstrong State winner.
"We still have an opportunity to come out here to tomorrow," Warner said. "We will regroup and we are looking forward to playing again. I am confident the team will give me everything they have."
(Photograph courtesy of Peter Galarneau Jr.)