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TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: Softball Beats Georgian Court Twice on Saturday to Claim 2023 CACC Tournament

Copyright 2023; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by CACC's Stephanie Scarpato. May 6, 2023 at Georgian Court.
Copyright 2023; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by CACC's Stephanie Scarpato. May 6, 2023 at Georgian Court.


LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - The Wilmington University softball team came out of the elimination bracket to defeat Georgian Court twice on Saturday and claim the 2023 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship and earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division II East Regional Championship.

It is the fourth CACC Tournament Championship in the program's NCAA era, but first since 2019. The Wildcats won CACC Tournaments in 2014, 2016, 2019, and now 2023.

The Wildcats used a six-run fourth inning to overcome a 3-0 deficit in day's first game, and then came out of the gates and scored the only three runs of the Championship game in the bottom of the first. And then it was Kylee Gunkel time.


Georgian Court scored a run in the top of the second and two more in the top of the third to take a 3-0 lead. Lion pitcher Janelle Blaszka retired the first nine Wildcats in order, but then the Wildcats sent 12 batters to the plate in the fourth to turn the game around.

With the top of the order up, Taylor Gillis, Lexi Moore, and Tristyn Stewart all singled. Then the Wildcats started bunting on the Lions, forcing Georgian Court into three errors in the inning. Stewart, Haley Downin, and Cassidy Zelano collected RBI in the inning. The Wildcats scored six runs on five hits.

Sara Miller added a two-out insurance run in the sixth, plating Taylor Gillis for the 7-3 lead.

Delani Sheehan worked through trouble in the first three innings, but then settled in an only allowed two base runners the rest of the game.

The Lions hit a one-out single in the seventh but then Sheehan induced a grounder back up the middle. Cassidy Zelano went to the backhand, glove flipped the ball to Lexi Moore at second who turned a double play to first to end the game.

Delani Sheehan improved to 14-6 on the season with the win while Gillis, Moore, and Miller all had two hits in the game.


The Wildcats carried the momentum from game one into the Championship Game, this time putting CACC Pitcher of the Year Kylee Gunkel in the circle. She allowed a two-out double in the top of the first, but then induced a foul ball that Emma Zimmerman made up against the backstop for the final out.

Then the Wildcats came up to bat and the tone was set with the very first batter. Taylor Gillis took the second pitch she saw over the fence in right center for her fourth homer of the season, giving the Wildcats an early lead.

Lexi Moore restarted the inning with a single and stolen base. Sara Miller then hit a one-out, RBI double, before Haley Downin went the other way with a two-out RBI single to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.

That was more than enough for Gunkel, as the only trouble came in the third inning, as the Lions put two on with one out. But Gunkel picked up a liner to right and a fly ball to right, ending the inning unscathed. She picked up her 100th strikeout of the season to end the top of the fourth, and then left a one-out double at third in the fifth. She then set the Lions down in order in the sixth and seventh innings, striking out the final batter to set off the celebration.

Lexi Moore went 2-for-3 while Gillis, Miller, and Downin collected RBI in the game. Gunkel improved to 19-5 on the year with the win, throwing her fourth complete game shutout of the season.


The Wildcats earned six student-athletes on the All-Tournament Team, led by the Tournament Team MVP Delani Sheehan. Joining Sheehan on the All-Tournament Team was Taylor Gillis, Lexi Moore, Sara Miller, Tristyn Stewart, and Kylee Gunkel.


The Wildcats will now learn their fate with the NCAA Division II Selection Show scheduled on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. on The Wildcats were ranked No. 2 in the East in last week's Regional Rankings.