George Mason softball captures their first A10 title. (Photo: George Mason Athletics)
George Mason University’s dream softball season continued in dramatic fashion as the Patriots took home the A10 conference tournament title this past Saturday. They now find themselves in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Their title clinching win came in a do or die winner take all game as they were able to come storming back in the 10th inning with a 6-3 win. This was the third time in 2 days Mason had squared off against the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago.
Mason entered the Tournament as the 4 seed while Loyola Chicago came into the game as the 2 seed. Mason won the regular season series 2 games to 1 in Fairfax. This time they were tasked with knocking off the Ramblers again for the 2nd time in as many days. College softball plays a double elimination style tournament to determine their Champion.
Mason defeated Loyola 3-0 on Friday and then lost on an extra inning go ahead 2 run shot that cleared the fence. GMU fell 3-2 Saturday morning in the bottom of the 8th inning as they were one pitch away from being crowned champs.
In the Afternoon recap, Mason and Loyola sent their #2 pitchers to the mound. It was junior Carly Cooper on the mound for the Patriots to duel it out with Rambler sophomore Andie Broniewicz. Both teams’ aces had pitched a lot of innings over the course of the tournament.
Mason got on the board early by plating 3 runs but as we had found out all weekend, the Ramblers weren’t going to go away easy. In the Bottom of the 6th, Mason needing only 4 more outs it was the Ramblers who were able to load the Bases. Mason would then turn to star A10 pitcher of the year Aly Rayle out of the pen to get the last out in the 6th, she was unable to get the last out before giving up a hit that allowed the 2nd and tying run to cross the plate. The game would go extras.
Both teams went scoreless in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. It was in the top of the 10th inning when Mason sent Nichole Bechtel to the plate with 2 on that the redshirt junior was able to come up with a clutch 2 run scoring double to put Mason up 5-3. Elyssa DeRosa added an RBI single that plated Logan Pickford and gave mason a 6-3 lead as they headed to the bottom of the 10th.
Rayle came back in her 4th inning of relief to slam the door shut and lead the Patriots to victory.
The win gives 5th year Head Coach Justin Walker his first conference title! When talking with Walker, the News-Press asked how they were going about preparing for this weekend’s games. He emphasized rest and letting the girls finish up their schoolwork as many were going through finals.
Justin praised the team’s hard work, dedication and experience as the reasons for this years success. He went on to say their goal was to win series, not being so focused on every game. They were able to win six out of their first seven A10 series of the year. This paid dividends as the girls were prepared for the weekend and didn’t let a loss hold them down.
With senior leadership and experience around the diamond the Patriots have found their success.
While their season is not done and regardless of what happens this weekend in Durham, N.C. where they will face the national seeded Duke Blue Devils, the 2023 season will go down in the history books.
Justin hopes this title will help in recruiting and building the program as they look to be a leader in the DMV region.
If you would like to tune into this weekend’s pool play, the Patriots game will be aired on ESPN+ Friday, May 19th at noon. Tickets are available through the George Mason Athletic Ticket Office at am.ticketmaster.com/gmu/23ncaasb for JUST $10. You can also contact Taylor Bosket, email@example.com or 703-993-4112.