Leopards Clinch 9th Straight NBC Title On Walk-Off – Softball
Louisville 4, Marlington 3
The Louisville Leopards Varsity Softball Team earned a 4-3 walk-off win against the visiting Marlington Dukes Friday Evening at the Diamond of Dreams. With the victory, Louisville finishes the season with an overall record of 22-4 and an NBC record of 13-1. The Leopards also clinch their 9th Straight NBC Championship with the win.
In the bottom of the seventh, Kaycee Ollis hit a walk-off double to right field bringing home Lexi Zavarelle from second for the league clinching run. Zavarelle hit her second single of the night to start the last of the seventh. She then advanced to second via a sacrifice bunt by Sydney McKeever and then came home two batters later.
Donate to Leopard Nation
The Dukes took advantage of a tight strikezone early on in the first inning. Marlington drew three walks to load the bases for Amber Cirone. She cracked a 3-1 pitch to right field bringing home Maddie Meyers and Ellie Smith to make it 2-0 Lady Dukes.
Louisville mirrored the Marlington first inning with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame. McKeever was hit by a pitch on the first pitch of her at-bat. After that, she swiped second to put herself into scoring position. Teagan Rice batted next and drove a pitch that pinged against the fence in deep center. McKeever scored and Rice took over her post at second with a double.
Rice advanced to third on an Ollis groundout in the next at-bat. Then with two outs, Savannah Miner singled to left field to plate Rice. Miner would finish 2-for-3 in her final game as a Leopard.
Without an out, the Dukes loaded the bases again in the second inning. However, Marlington managed just a single run when Meyers was hit by a pitch scoring Leah Springer from third. The battery took care of the rest as the catching Ollis snagged a pop out and Pitcher Sarah Cantley struck out the next batter looking.
Louisville answered in the third inning as the speedy McKeever menaced the Marlington defense once again. She reached first on a bunt single and advanced to second base on her 18th steal of the season. The throw to second was offline and the ball went off the shortstop’s mitt into right field. McKeever captured third on the play and then came home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Rice. That tied the game at 3-3.
The pitchers settled in and neither team scored over the course of the next three innings. Cantley pitched the final 6.1 innings, gave up 1 run on 5 hits, and struck out 6 to keep the game knotted for the Leopards. Cantley picked up her team leading 11th win with the victory and finished the season with a 141 strikeouts in the circle.
With the victory, Louisville has now won 15 of their last 16 meetings against Marlington overall. The Leopards now lead the all-time series 32-28, which includes a 17-13 mark at home. Louisville is now 108-4 this decade against the NBC and this is their 7th season with 20 or more wins in the past 8 years.
The Leopards have now won 9 straight NBC Titles, which beats the record of 8 in a row previously held by former league member Akron Springfield. Louisville has now won a conference best 10 NBC crowns overall.
View & Purchase Louisville Leopards Pictures on the Jim & Laura Photography Website
VARSITY BOX SCORE
LEOPARDS 4, DUKES 3
MARLINGTON DUKES VARSITY BATTING
MARLINGTON DUKES VARSITY PITCHING
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS VARSITY BATTING
LOUISVILLE LEOPARDS VARSITY PITCHING
Records: Louisville 22-4, 13-1; Marlington 22-6, 9-5