Claflin Wins the 2022 CIAA Softball Championship

Released by The CIAA,

 

The Panthers capture first conference team title in school history since joining the CIAA in 2018

 

Glen Allen, VA – The Claflin University softball team is heading back to the NCAA Division II postseason for the second straight year, and this time it will be as the 2022 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) champions. The Panthers defeated Bowie State in the conference championship game to win their first CIAA team title in any sport since joining the league in 2018.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Bowie State University scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning to advance to the 2022 CIAA championship game with the 6-4 comeback victory Saturday over Virginia State University at RF&P Park.

A two-out, two-run single by Shanya Gordon pulled BSU to within a single run, and Gordon brought home the equalizer on a fielding error. One batter later, Saniya Jones drove in the winning runs with a two-run single – giving Bowie State its first lead of the game.

Virginia snapped the 1-1 tie with three runs in the fifth inning. A one-out error and hit batter got the rally going. Samantha Cunningham, who homered in the second, nearly hit her second one with an RBI double off the wall as the Trojans reclaimed the lead. A wild pitch plated another run, and a single by Desmyn Owens pushed the VSU advantage to 4-1.

Lindsey George came in to get the final two outs for the Bulldogs, and earned the victory in the circle, going 2 2/3 innings. She allowed just one hit with one strikeout to keep BSU within striking distance for its comeback win.

Gordon finished 2-for-4 with one run scored and two RBI, while Akirra Pullen was 2-for-3 for Bowie State.

Owens finished 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Cunningham was 2-for-4 with a double, home run, two runs scored and two RBI. Alaija Pratt also had two hits for the Trojans.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

2022 CIAA Pitcher of the Year Bre’Zhay Chambers allowed two runs on five hits as the Panthers knocked off Bowie State Saturday, 5-2, in the CIAA Tournament title game at RF&P Park.

Claflin took the early lead with three runs in the third inning that included a big hit from Jaelyn Jackson – a two-run single that scored Brenay Howard and Camryn Hollis.

Bowie State got back into the game with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Aseyah Alexander singled home Lindsey George, and then scored on a double by Brittany Brewer.

However, the Bulldogs couldn’t get any closer as Claflin scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Alexander went 2-for-2 with a run scored and RBI, while three other Bulldogs recorded hits.

Seven different Panthers recorded hits in the victory as Jackson had a pair of RBI and Hollis scored a pair of runs.

Chambers, who posted 19 strikeouts in three appearances throughout the tournament that included five in the title game, earned a spot on the All-Tournament team and was named the Food Lion Tournament Most Valuable Player.

Joining Chambers on the All-Tournament team were teammates Hollis, Jackson, and Alexandria Beavers along with Bowie State’s Saniya Jones, Shanya Gordon, Aseyah Alexander, Virginia State’s Samantha Cunningham, and Winston-Salem State’s Alleshia Pullen.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Panthers earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA postseason and now wait to learn their opponent in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Tournament, which will be played at a site yet to be announced. The NCAA Division II Softball selection show will announce this year’s field on Monday, May 9 at 10 a.m.

2022 CIAA Softball All-Tournament Team

Alleshia Pullen, Winston-Salem State
Samantha Cunningham, Virginia State
Shanya Gordon, Bowie State
Shaniya Jones, Bowie State
Aseyah Alexander, Bowie State
Camryn Hollis, Claflin
Jaelyn Jackson, Claflin
Alexandria Beavers, Claflin
Bre’Zhay Chambers, Claflin – Food Lion Tournament MVP

About Willie Alex Hines 6883 Articles
A lifelong sports fan and follower of HBCUs, Willie Alexander Hines is an expert on any sport with tremendous recall of history and newsmakers.