Chowan softball wins CIAA championshipPublished 10:55pm Thursday, April 25, 2013
Former Lakeland High School softball player Shelby Pendleton kept her playing days alive this past weekend when she helped the Chowan University Hawks bookend her career with Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships.
The Hawks went to Petersburg on Saturday to play Virginia State University on its home field for the title and Chowan came away with a 7-3 triumph. After winning the championship in Pendleton’s freshman year, this year’s win marked the second CIAA title in program history for Chowan.
“It was surreal,” said Pendleton, who went 2-for-3 with a run scored. “The other seniors with me, we were all talking about how we came in with a ring and we wanted to leave with a ring, so it was awesome.”
She said this title was sweeter for her than the one the team earned in her freshman year, because at that time, her contributions were limited to pinch running and little else. This time was different.
“I feel like I helped a lot and played a huge part,” she said. “Everybody did, but it’s just great that I was able to help my team out by getting on and scoring. So, it was a lot better feeling.”
Earlier during the regular season, the Hawks had been riding an undefeated CIAA record when they fell to Winston-Salem State University on April 13. To win the CIAA tournament, which began the next week, the Hawks had to go through four different teams, including Winston-Salem.
Chowan had not defeated the Lady Rams in the last two years. These were also years in which the Lady Rams ultimately ended up CIAA champions. Pendleton shared the team’s mental state entering the latest showdown with Winston-Salem.
“We were definitely nervous, but it was like a good nervous,” she said. “We knew we were going to take it.”
Chowan tallied eight runs in the third inning and never looked back, with Pendleton contributing a hit, a scored run and an RBI to the 9-2 win.
The 2013 CIAA title earns the Hawks an automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Atlantic Regional.
“If we didn’t win the championship, then I’d be done with softball,” Pendleton said. “My senior year is over, I’m not playing softball ever again. It just feels great to play again. I have at least two more games to play, so it feels great. I’m so excited.”
Details are not yet available for the regional tourney, but it is tentatively scheduled for the second weekend in May.