Christopher Newport Captures First NCAA Division III Championship

Christopher Newport Captures First NCAA Division III Championship

Following the game, Coach Parr announced that Kaitlyn Hasty’s No. 27 jersey would be retired.

Jun 2, 2022 by Stephen Kerr
Christopher Newport Captures First NCAA Division III Championship

Clutch hitting often determines whether a team either gets to a championship or wins one.

The Christopher Newport University Captains faced such a task in a semifinal game of the NCAA Division III Tournament against Texas Lutheran. Tied 3-3 with the Bulldogs heading into the bottom of the ninth at Moyer Complex in Salem, Virginia, sophomore third baseman Brooke Greaver stepped to the plate to lead off the inning. 

After working the count to 2-0 against junior reliever Amanda White, Greaver, who was 0-for-3 before the at-bat, sent a 2-0 pitch over the right-field fence for a walk-off homer that would propel the Captains into the best-of-three final series. Their opponent would be the Trine Thunder, who clinched their first-ever spot in the series following a victory over Berry College.

The Captains and Thunder squared off for Game One in a Memorial Day matinee showdown, and the heroics continued for CNU. With the score tied 2-2 in the fifth, senior first baseman Kaitlyn Hasty came to bat with the bases loaded. The Chesapeake native turned on a 2-1 pitch from Thunder starter Adrienne Rosey and cleared the left field fence for a grand slam. It was Hasty’s 19th home run of the season and turned out to be the difference in a 6-3 win.

The Captains scored the game’s first run on a throwing error in the third, but Trine picked up a pair of unearned runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. CNU tied the game in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk with one out. Rosey induced a foul pop up for the second out before Hasty crushed her grand slam.

CNU pitcher Jamie Martin, named the 2022 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Freshman of the Year, hurled five innings of two-run ball. The lefthander from Lorton, Virginia allowed four hits, struck out eight and didn’t walk anyone. The Captains needed just one more win to capture their first DIII national championship, while the Thunder would have to win two games for their first title.

Martin got the call again in Game Two and she was even more spectacular than the day before. She went the distance, taking a no-hitter into the fourth inning before finishing with a two-hit shutout and six strikeouts. Her performance over the two games earned her Most Outstanding Pitcher honors, and she finished the season with a 22-1 record. 

CNU wasted no time getting on the board, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Senior Caitlin Abernethy opened the game by reaching on a Thunder fielding error that allowed her to go all the way to second base. After moving to third on a passed ball, Abernethy scored on catcher Bailey Roberts’ sacrifice fly. After two outs, Maddie Hool smacked a two-run double over the right fielder’s head. Those three runs would hold up for the 3-0 final score, giving the Captains the first national championship in the 38-year history of the program.

“Our team has stepped up time and time again this year, and today we accomplished our ultimate goal,” CNU head coach Keith Parr said during the postgame celebration. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group, they’ve worked so hard and never backed down.”

Martin’s biggest test came in the fifth. After issuing a lead-off four-pitch walk to Scarlett Elliott, she gave up a bunt single to put runners on first and second. Both would advance on a sacrifice bunt by Mercede Daugherty before Anna Gill hit into a fielder’s choice, loading the bases with one out. But Martin and the Captains’ defense bore down to get the final two outs.

Besides Martin, four other Captain players were named to the All-Tournament Team. Roberts was voted Most Outstanding Player while Hasty, freshman Kate Alger and sophomore Katie Currin also received All-Tournament honors.

Trine placed three players on the All-Tournament Team: Rosey, Gill and Amanda Prather. The Thunder ended their season with a 35-13 mark, the 12th time the program has eclipsed 30 wins since joining the NCAA. They captured their fourth Super Regional championship, fifth Regional championship and 11th MIAA crown.

The title wrapped up quite a storybook season for the Captains. They finished 47-1, winning their first 23 games before falling at Averett University April 27th. They surpassed that streak by winning their final 24 games, cruising through a four-team Regional at home and sweeping defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan in the Super Regional. The trip to Salem consisted of five consecutive wins over a six-day period.

In 19 seasons as CNU head coach, Parr has compiled a 635-188-1 record with 15 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The program also picked up the 1,100th victory in its history this week in Salem.

Following the game, Parr announced that Hasty’s No. 27 jersey would be retired. It was a well-deserved honor, as she became the first three-time All-American in CNU softball history and the program’s all-time home run leader with 53. Hasty concludes her career as the Captains’ all-time leader in slugging percentage and was second in on-base percentage, total bases and RBI. The jersey will be formally retired sometime during the 2023 season.