No. 1 OLLU Softball punches ticket to NAIA World Series with dominant performances

OLLU Saints punch their ticket to the big stage in Georgia

The nation’s top-ranked OLLU softball team (53-3) is headed back to the NAIA World Series after outscoring opponents 7-0 on their way to winning the San Antonio bracket of the NAIA Opening Round Championship.

“The main goal is to win a championship,” said OLLU senior outfielder Kayla Dreese. “It’s so indescribable to be back in this position again.”

The Saints clinched the opening round title with a 2-0 shutout victory over Hope International University on Wednesday at a neutral site on the St. Mary’s University campus.

OLLU senior pitcher Cassie Valdez broke the stalemate in the bottom of the 5th inning with a two-run home run over the fence in left field that also scored Alyssa Garcia.

“I think both dugouts realized that one run could be the difference,” said OLLU head coach Bruce Lenington. “The fact that it was her big fly and, the fact that it just got over, I’ll be excited to watch it later on tape.”

“I was really just being aggressive,” said Valdez about her game-winning two-run blast. “I was ready for anything she was going to throw over the plate, and luckily, it just happened to go over. But I was just trying to hit the ball hard.”

“She hit that and the whole dugout just went all out. We were so excited,” said OLLU senior catcher Grace Ross. “We were super excited. We were like, ‘She did it again!’”

Valdez (26-1) put forth a gritty performance in the circle for the Saints. The Veterans Memorial High School alum struck out nine batters in her third complete game of the tournament.

Next up, the Saints will compete in the NAIA World Series, which begins May 23 in Columbus, Georgia.

About the Author

Mary Rominger is KSAT 12 Sports' first full-time female sports anchor and reporter. She came to San Antonio from Mankato, Minn., where she worked as a weekend sports anchor at KEYC News Now. She has a journalism degree from Iowa State University and grew up in Southern California. Mary enjoys golfing, sports and finding new spots around town.

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