It is the second national championship in four years for the program as CBU also won the 2009 NAIA title. Four of the five graduating seniors played on that 2009 team and have gone 240-20 in their careers, with the Lancers finishing this season 49-6. CBU also won a PacWest Championship earlier in the year, the ninth consecutive conference title for the program.
"It was outstanding to end the season with a championship and with a performance like the one they put up today," said CBU Head Coach Bill Baber, who completes his first season at the helm for the Lancers. "It almost epitomized the whole season because whenever we needed someone to step up or fill in they did. This was a total team effort. We got contributions all over the field and it was great to see this group go out that way."
Playing the Tigers for the second day in a row, the Lancers again fell behind in the title game as Campbellsville went up 1-0 in the first inning. This time CBU didn't wait until the fifth to get the run back, however.
Lindsay Henry opened the bottom of the first with a single and was promptly driven in on a triple by Mara Rodriguez. Sloan McHann was thrown out on a line drive that was knocked down and picked up by the Tiger shortstop, but it was good enough to score Rodriguez and give the Lancers the lead for good.
"Lindsay getting that first hit was huge because it got us going early, which is something we had struggled to do all tournament," said Baber. "Then in the fourth small ball really started things off and we followed that up with lined shots to drive in the runs. That really broke things open."
CBU added four runs in the fourth, getting RBI from Henry, McHann and Andie Banuelos, before ending the contest with three more in the bottom of the fifth.
Tina Galinato led the inning off with a walk and April Vasquez drove her in with a triple, putting CBU up 7-1. Danae Leiser then doubled off the left field wall, plating Vasquez to put CBU on the verge of the win. With pinch runner Shawnna Martinez at second and Savannah Miller pinch hitting at the plate, Miller greeted new Tiger pitcher Taylor Wroe with the game winning RBI single on the second pitch she saw.
Despite the dominating 9-1 score CBU posted, the game was not without drama as Holden had to strand seven CU runners to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard after the first inning. Holden finishes with a 26-4 record on the season, earning All-Tournament Pitcher honors.
"Emma battled today, getting the big strikeout or ground ball when she needed them to keep them from getting anything going," said Baber. "She's a battler and a warrior out there and that's the way she's been all year. That's a good team we were up against, but she was able to get them out every time we needed it."
Also making the All-Tournament team for the Lancers were Rodriguez, Henry and Galinato. Galinato was named tournament MVP, going 2 for 2 with two runs scored in the final game and hitting .455 with four RBI for the tournament. Galinato also made a running catch coming in on a sinking liner in the fifth and then threw to second to get the final out of the inning and end the threat for Campbellsville.
"This was our goal. We wanted to win our final game so we could go out on top and we were able to do that," said Galinato. "As seniors we didn't want to finish our careers with any more than 20 losses, so it was really cool to accomplish that also. This has been an amazing year for us. Our coaching staff has been great keeping us positive and motivated all year, and that's really made things fun. They are a huge reason we've been able to be so successful."
CBU graduates five seniors from this year's team; pitchers Holden and Tory Ferreira, outfielders Galinato and Kendall Gorham, and the squad's catcher Henry (who joined the team prior to the 2011 season). Between them they have two national titles, two NAIA Pitcher of the Year awards, four Conference Pitcher of the Year awards, one Conference Player of the Year award, eight NAIA All-American honors, 16 All-Conference honors and countless other Player of the Week awards. Holden holds the CBU career records for strikeouts (1,009), strikeouts per seven inning game (10.97) and opponents' batting average (.141), and Gorham holds career records for home runs (67), RBI (232) and total bases (500).