Cumberlands softball books first-ever trip to NAIA World Series

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 5:37 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - The Lady Patriots were down to their last strike, but it didn’t matter.

The Cumberlands softball team rallied from a late 1-0 deficit to force extras and beat Madonna (Mich.), 4-1, in 10 innings to win the NAIA Williamsburg Regional. The victory clinches the program’s first-ever trip to the NAIA World Series.

“I’m in disbelief right now,” UC head softball coach Bailey Dillender said. “What an incredible game. Just our perseverance, our ability to keep our composure and do all those things. That’s been our identity all year. That was a great team we just played but it was just good to see us come out on top and just continue to stay with the plan and find a way to get it done.”

In the top of the seventh, Madonna led 1-0 and the Lady Patriots (47-3-1) were down to their last strike. Carly Oliver answered the call first with a stand-up double, then Maddie Sickau brought her home on a grounder up the left field line to force extra innings.

“One thing I challenged them and said a little bit late in the game was ‘if this is the last day, if this is it, who do you want to be? I want you to close your eyes and I want you to imagine who you want to be in that moment. Let’s find a way to get this done,’” said Dillender. “So it couldn’t happen to anyone better. Sickau has led us, she’s been here for five years, she’s the program’s first All-American. For her to come through in that moment and just have the focus and composure to get it done is unbelievable.”

After two scoreless extra innings, the Cumberlands sealed the deal. One of the team’s leaders throughout the region, Mackenzie Pawlak, sent another grounder up the left field line to bring two runs home and give UC the lead. She came home the next at-bat off a Hailey Wood single to give the Lady Pats the 4-1 score.

Kaiti White picked up the win on the mound for Cumberlands after pitching 6.2 innings of relief, allowing only one hit and striking out three.

The Lady Patriots will now head to Columbus, Ga. to play in the school’s first-ever NAIA World Series. Their first game will be on Thu., May 25.