AKRON, Ohio – The No. 1 seeded Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College softball team topped off their season as the 2016 USCAA Softball National Champions. The Pomeroys defeated No. 2 Carlow, 6-0, on Thursday at Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio, to claim their second consecutive USCAA national title.
The Pomeroys capped the 2016 season with a 31-6 overall record and the USCAA softball crown. The SMWC softball program has now won 10 national titles, with two under head coach Mark Feller.
The national championship game was highlighted by sophomore Marlee Yeager's 2-for-2 performance at the plate that included one RBI, while she crossed home plate three times for the Pomeroys. Junior Camille Ulery went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, as did sophomore Kelly Combs. Senior Sarah Burnham delivered her 15th win of the season on Thursday in her final game as a Pomeroy and allowed just three hits to leave SMWC as a two-time national champion.
SMWC's bats took a couple of innings to warm up with the score tied 0-0 heading into the bottom of the third. The bottom of third was when the Pomeroys made their move with an RBI double by Yeager to score freshman Kindra Gingerich. Then, Ulery brought in Yeager with an RBI single.
The fourth inning was quiet, as the Pomeroys kept the Celtics off of the board for another inning. SMWC wasn't done scoring though, as they added one run in the bottom of the fifth via an RBI single by Combs that scored Yeager.
With a 3-0 lead heading into the sixth, the Pomeroys weren't ready to settle in just yet. They kept the Celtics off the board for a sixth straight inning and then added three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Burnham brought the first run in off of a sacrifice fly that scored Gingerich. Ulery then brought in her second run of the day with an RBI single to score junior Emma Riffe, who had reached base on a bunt earlier in the inning. The third and final run for the Pomeroys came as Yeager scored her third run of the game off of an RBI single by Combs.
SMWC then had just three more outs before becoming back-to-back USCAA National Champions. They got them without any issue, and the celebration began.
It was the perfect ending to a season that saw the Pomeroys ranked as the No. 1 team in the USCAA all season long. It was also a fitting end for Burnham, who leaves the program as one of its most decorated players. The Pomeroys had three players named to the USCAA National All-Tournament team. Burnham, who was named the 2016 USCAA Player of the Year earlier in the week, took home tournament MVP honors, while freshman Kindra Gingerich and sophomore Marlee Yeager were named all-tournament at centerfield and third base, respectively.
"It feels great. I am really grateful to not only be able to win it once, but twice with such a great team," stated Burnham when asked about winning back-to-back national championships. "I am truly blessed."
"This is a great group of kids. Of course Sarah and Marlee come in with stellar performances, and we have a nice freshman class that was able to contribute as well," stated head coach Mark Feller, when asked about his team repeating as national champions. "I am just really excited and happy for them."
The Pomeroys now have 10 national titles after a week where the motto was "stay humble and hungry." The week long motto paid off on Thursday, as the 2016 season ended with the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Pomeroys being crowned the best in USCAA softball.