Big Blue Softball punches ticket to first NCAA Championships

Millikin Softball defeats Wartburg for first Super Regional Victory in School History

Millikin Softball defeats Wartburg for first Super Regional Victory in School History

Fighting numerous rain delays, the Millikin University Big Blue softball team completed a historic run to the 2022 NCAA Division III Softball Championships by defeating Wartburg College in the Super Regionals 10-6 on May 22 at the Workman Family Softball Field in Decatur, Ill.

Millikin's 10-6 victory was completed shortly after 11 a.m. following three rain delays between Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22. With the victory, the Big Blue move on to match up with Salisbury University on Thursday, May 26 at 4 p.m. eastern time. Only eight teams remain in the Division III Softball Championships as the double-elimination tournament will be held in Salem, Va.

The Millikin/Wartburg match-up on Saturday, May 21 was scheduled to start at 11 a.m., but was halted before the first pitch was thrown, then began again at 2:30 p.m. before being halted for a second time, and then started up for a third and final time on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. before being pushed to Sunday. The final rain delay started with one out in the top of the seventh inning.

Leah Foreman

In game two of a best-of-three series, Millikin started off the scoring in the top of the second inning with a Rylee Blake double down the left field line plating Gretchen Gould.

In the third inning, Lanie Chizmark started off the inning with a double down the left field line, then later crossed the plate on a Grace Biondo single up the middle. The Big Blue took a 4-0 advantage when Camryn Skundberg sent a double to left center, scoring Biondo and pinch runner Jada Wilson. Millikin tacked on another with a Gould single to left field.

Addison Sargent

In the sixth inning, Leah Foreman began the offensive attack with a homerun to centerfield. Cassie Reed followed with a single through the left side of the infield to score Biondo. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kendallyn Davison reached on a fielder's choice with Wartburg failing to get Blake out at second and pinch runner Anna Enlow scoring on the play to put Millikin up 8-0.

The Knights rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning cutting the Big Blue lead to 8-5.

Kaylee Goluch

In the seventh, Biondo and Skundberg each drew walks to put two runners on for the Big Blue. With Enlow at the plate and runners on second and third with one out, the game was halted once again for a rain delay. After the delay, Enlow secured her first hit of her collegiate career to score Biondo and pinch runner Kaylee Goluch to give Millikin the 10-5 advantage.

Wartburg plated one run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Big Blue secured the game two victory to punch their ticket to the 2022 NCAA Division III Softball Championships. Addison Sargent was the winning pitcher, striking out eight through seven innings pitched.

When asked about the marathon developments of game two, Sargent said it was "adrenaline" that kept her and the team focused. "We were so excited and ready to play the game. I stayed focus on trying to hit my spots and putting the ball where it was supposed to go," she said.

Aly Armstrong noted, "We know that our offense and defense are going to back us up no matter what. Our goal was to always keep playing … this is a special team."

In game one of the best-of-three series, Millikin defeated Wartburg in comeback fashion 9-5 on Friday, May 20.