Eyes on the big prize

Anthony Dellamura | Marlin Chronicle
Anthony Dellamura | Marlin Chronicle

By Richard Cremin

The Virginia Wesleyan Softball team takes the number one seed in the ODAC tournament after their 3-0 win over Roanoke College on Saturday, April 18.

This victory marks the end of a stellar season for the Marlins as they look forward to the ODAC tournament. After ending their season at 18-2, the program is looking to win their third straight ODAC title. If they can win this ODAC tournament, then they will be the second team in VWC softball history to do so in over 20 years.

Head Coach Brandon Elliot credits this season’s success to the women of the VWC softball team.

“It’s really just the ladies who put the uniform on every day,” said Elliott. “I’m beyond proud of what they have done and what they accomplish.” When asked if he thinks the softball team will win the ODAC championships, he said, “Crazy things happen during the tournament.”

Senior Pitcher Kristina Karagiorgis is optimistic about the upcoming ODAC tournament.

“I’m confident in all our abilities, we handle the ball well, our coach is doing well, our fielding is doing well. We have all our tools to succeed,” Karagiorgis said. “The only team that could beat us is ourselves.”

Karagiorgis pitched the first game against the Maroons with a total of nine strikeouts. She is fourth in the nation in earned run average with a 0.52 percentage.

Over the past four years, VWC has won three ODAC championship titles with back to back titles in 2013 and 2014. The only other time that the Lady Marlins have won three straight ODAC championships in a row has been from 1991-1994. It has been 21 years since the program has accomplished such a feat.

Coach Elliot is confident in his team’s ability in taking the championship. “Our expectation is the same every year, and that to get to Nationals. The tournament is a stepping stone to get to that,” Elliott said.

In the last four years, the Marlins have made it to the NCAA Regional tournament three times, but have yet to succeed at taking the regional championships. Coach

Elliott believes that his team can go to the nationals, but he admits that the ODACs will be a challenge for his team.

“Winning the tournaments [are] never easy. The last few years we’ve had a lot of success. The tournament will not go

exactly as everyone planned and it never does,” said Elliot.

Karagiorgis, along with juniors Kayla Malkos and Courtney Bogan take high ranking spots in the NCAA statistics.Karagiorgis is tied for 18th in the nation for number of victories with a .867 winning percentage and 16 victories after the last game with Roanoke. Courtney Bogan is ranked first in the nation for stolen bases with an average of 1.23 per game. Her teammate Kayla Malkos is number 18 with a .79 average. “I have a lot of confidence in us.” says Karagiorgis, “We’ll have to take it one game at a time.”