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COLUMBUS, Ga. – Linfield University was crowned champions of the 2024 NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic. The Wildcats put forth dominating performances on Sunday afternoon, run-ruling Roanoke, 10-1 and Virginia Wesleyan, 8-0. East Texas Baptist also finished a perfect 4-0 and is the runner-up. Linfield edged out ETBU by run differential (eight-run max) for the title.

Over four games, Linfield earned three run-rule victories and outscored its opposition, 32-6. The two wins today were preceded by a 9-1 victory over Belhaven and a 5-4 triumph against Transylvania. ETBU took care of business on Sunday as well by scoring 26 runs in a pair of run-rule victories over Berry, 13-3 and Babson, 13-2. The Tigers collected 3-1 and 4-1 wins over Christopher Newport and Case Western Reserve on Saturday.

Not to outshine the champions, but the final two games of the tournament were highlighted by seventh inning heroics as both College of Saint Benedict and Concordia Wisconsin walked off in style to earn their first wins of the tournament. CSB’s Olivia Tautges capped off a five-run bottom of the seventh with a no doubt three-run walk-off homer to dead center field, lifting the Bennies to an 11-9 victory. Roughly 20 minutes later, Jasmine Freeze did one better as she launched a walk-off grand slam to seal a 9-6 comeback victory for the Falcons.

A total of eight programs posted a perfect 2-0 mark on Sunday. Case Western Reserve, Christopher Newport, Transylvania, Bethel and Chapman each finished with 3-1 tournament records, while Illinois Wesleyan heads back home after a 3-3 showing. CWRU captured wins over DePauw and Wartburg with Transy topping Roanoke and Piedmont. Chapman knocked off Central and Moravian. CNU scored a victory over College of Saint Benedict before winning a matchup of the last two national champions, 4-3 over Trine.

Bethel won a pair of nailbiters over Moravian, 4-3, and Central, 3-2. IWU trumped Wartburg and Berry. Wartburg, which opened 2-0 on Saturday, did pick up a win in its final contest, 6-4 against Babson to finish 3-2. 

Trine was also triumphant on Sunday. The Thunder, who finished 4-1, picked up their fourth win of the tournament by edging Belhaven, 4-2, before dropping its game against CNU.

CSB picked up its first win of the tournament in style over Belhaven. Not to be outdone, Concordia trailed 5-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh. With one out and the bases full of Falcons, Jasmine Freeze launched a walk-off grand slam to give Concordia its first win of the tournament.

All-Tournament Team

Babson: Athena Hadjipanayis
Belhaven: Allie Gordon
Berry: Sydney Moroney
Bethel (Minn.): Abby Otterness
Case Western Reserve: Kylie Hosey
Central: Haley Bach
Chapman: Miranda Murphy
Christopher Newport: Kate Alger
Concordia (Wis.): Megan Bloyer
DePauw: Emily Timberman
East Texas Baptist: Haylie Stum
Illinois Wesleyan: Gianna Certa
Linfield: Meara Sain
Mary Hardin-Baylor: Taylor Henken
Moravian: Ajala Elmore
Piedmont: Jasmine Lowery
Roanoke: Kate Houle
Saint Benedict: Madison Kubik
Transylvania: Stella Wulker
Trine: Ellie Trine
Virginia Wesleyan: Karley Beltran 
Wartburg: Sydney Fellows

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