Courtesy: Claflin Athletics
GLEN ALLEN, VA – The Claflin University Lady Panthers (21-13) claimed their first Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Softball Championship when the team took a 5-2 win over the Bowie State Bulldogs (25-20-1), Saturday afternoon. The Lady Panthers combined some stellar defense with some solid offense to claim the first CIAA championship in school history.
The Lady Panthers saved one of their best defensive efforts of the season for Lady Panthers. The team held the hard-hitting Bowie State Bulldogs to just two runs despite allowing five hits in the game. The Lady Panthers used some small ball to claim the win as none of the team’s seven hits were extra base hits. Claflin senior outfielder Camryn Hollis led the way when she went one-for-three at the plate with two runs scored. Junior short stop Jaelyn Jackson added a pair of RBI as well.
It took a while for the Lady Panthers to get things going, but once the team got rolling, they never looked back. The team got things going in the third inning when junior third base Kyra Shuler scored on a BSU fielding error. The Lady Panthers added two more runs when Jackson hit a two-RBI single to leave the Lady Panthers on top, 3-0. The Lady Panthers held on to their 3-0 lead until the fifth inning when they allowed a pair of runs to Bowie State. It was an RBI single followed by an RBI double that cut the Claflin lead down to just one run, 3-2. From there, the Lady Panthers answered in the fifth inning when a Bowie State wild pitch allowed Hollis to score and kept the Lady Panthers on top, 4-2. Claflin added another run in the sixth inning when Howard hit an RBI sacrifice fly ball to score freshman right fielder Kennedy Baskerville. From there, the Lady Panthers turned to their defense to claim the win. It was a double play from third base Kyra Shuler that sealed the victory.
Claflin senior pitcher Bre’Zhay Chambers (10-5) took the pitching victory after earning the start and going all seven innings for the Lady Panthers. She finished the game with two runs allowed (two earned) on five hits with sox strikeouts.
With the win, the Lady Panthers claim the 2022 CIAA Softball Championship and the automatic qualification for the 2022 NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament. The Lady Panthers will await selection for the tournament, Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. For more information on Lady Panthers softball, contact the Claflin University Office of Athletics Media Relations at (803) 535-5548 or log on to www.athletics.claflin.edu.