Belhaven softball, BHS alum Miller win in D3 World Series opener

Published 2:15 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

Brookhaven native Madi Miller and the Belhaven Blazers had to wait until Friday to get their appearance at the NCAA Division III Softball World Series started after their opening round game, scheduled for Thursday, was delayed by foul weather.

The event in Marshall, Texas has an eight-team field and it’s the first time in school history for the Blazers to make it to the World Series.

The tournament field is reseeded prior to bracket play beginning and Belhaven (42-7) was seeded sixth played the third seeded team, Case Western Reserve University (40-7). Case Western is in Cleveland, Ohio.

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On Friday, Belhaven pitcher Kennedy Caruth was sharp as a razor in allowing just one hit and helping the Blazers earn a 5-2 win with Miller scoring one of the five runs plated by Belhaven.

The bracket is divided into two different four-team pods that will play out with a double elimination format. The two remaining teams after bracket play will then meet in a best-of-three series to decide the national championship.

In the pod with Belhaven are two seed East Texas Baptist University (43-2) and seventh seeded Rowan University (39-8). The other pod contains top seeded Linfield University (48-2), fourth seeded University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (44-5), fifth seeded Virginia Wesleyan (40-8), and eighth seeded Tufts University (38-8).

Belhaven played a challenging schedule that had them crisscrossing the country in the early portion of the season. They were scheduled to play Case Western Reserve back on March 1 in Columbus, Georgia but the game was rained out. Linfield beat Belhaven 9-1 in a game played at that same event.

Linfield defeated Tufts 2-1 in nine innings on Thursday in the only game of the four scheduled that was actually played on time before the weather moved in. UW-Oshkosh and Virginia Wesleyan were able to play their game after an approximately eight-hour weather delay, a game won 4-1 by UW-Oshkosh.

ETBU opened play on Friday morning with a 7-0 win over Rowan.

Belhaven went to Georgia last week for the Super Regional round and faced Berry College, the team that beat them last season in a Super Regional.

Belhaven won game one of the series 10-1 before Berry evened things up the next day with a 3-1 win.

That set up the second game of the day and the third game of the series, which went to extra innings.

In the bottom of the ninth, Belhaven catcher Anna Caime blasted a walk-off home run to give the Blazers a thrilling 3-2 win.

Miller had a big role in the win as she led off Belhaven’s half of the first inning with a triple and then scored on a fielder’s choice by Mary Moore Widemire.

Miller, a product of Brookhaven High and Copiah-Lincoln CC, also had a triple in game two which led to a run for the Blazers.

Belhaven also has Co-Lin alum Belle West on its roster.

The Blazers are scheduled to play again on Friday against host ETBU at approximately 6 p.m.