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Howard wins 2007 MEAC Softball Title

May 14, 2007

SEVERN Md. – Howard University won the 2007 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Softball title with a 17-0 victory over North Carolina A&T State University at Randazzo Softball Park in Severn, Maryland. Howard’s Courtney Young earned Outstanding Performer accolades, while Howard Head Coach Tonja Braxton was named the Outstanding Coach.

Howard, who earned the fourth seed, hit four home runs and Howard starter Dale McNeal pitched a one-hit shutout to lead the Bison to its first-ever MEAC Softball Championship. The two teams matched up on Sunday with the fifth seeded Aggies topping the Bison 13-8 forcing a second championship game, based on the double elimination bracket.

The win earns the Bison (35-19) an automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Tournament, where they will play in the Tucson, Ariz., Regional on Friday against the University of Arizona at 6:30 p.m., MST.

Young earned Outstanding Performer accolades after leading the Bison with two hits, including a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in the game.

“I knew that I had to step up as a freshman to help this team in the game,’’ said Young, who was also named MEAC Rookie of the Year last week. “I wasn’t nervous and I knew that we could play better than we played yesterday. But give North Carolina A&T credit to comeback like they did and play the way they did in the tournament. They should be commended.”

The Bison scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning highlighted by a two-run RBI double by Young. In the second, Cordova and Bien-Aime hit back-to-back home runs to put the Bison up by nine. The Bison closed out the Aggies with two more home runs in the third. Brianne Gutierrez had a three-hit, three-RBI performance and Fallon Jones added two RBI for the Bison.

McNeal, who surrendered eight earned runs and two grand slams to the Aggies on Sunday, was an infield hit away from pitching a no-hitter on Monday. She improved to 21-11 on the season. Sasha Philpot (18-11) took the loss for the Aggies.

“I told Dale that if we were going to beat them it was going to have to be with her best,’’ said Howard Coach Tonja Braxton. “I wanted to reassure her although she did have a bad outing yesterday; we were still going to go with her in the big game.”

McNeal, Young and Bien-Aime earned All-Tournament honors for the Bison. Yahamma White, Tabitha Veney and Lillian Bullock were named to the all-tournament team for the runner-up Aggies, who won five straight games in the tournament to set up Monday’s title game. The Aggies end their season at 30-30.

“For a young team to make a run like we made, it’s encouraging,’’ Jones said. “Of course we wanted to win the championship, but I feel like we have something to build on.”

Delaware State’s Catrina Ansbach and Candice Shockley; Bethune-Cookman’s Holly Bussey; Hampton’s Anglea Balser and Morgan State’s Carolynn Howard also earned All-Tournament accolades.

2007 All-Tournament Team:
Carolynn Howard, Morgan State
Yahamma White , North Carolina A&T
Tabitha Veney, North Carolina A&T
Catrina Ansbach, Delaware State
Holly Bussey, Bethune-Cookman
Anglea Balser, Hampton
Dale McNeal, Howard
Courtney Young, Howard
Candice Shockley, Delaware State
Jennifer Bien-Aime, Howard
Lillain Bullock, North Carolina A&T

Outstanding Performer: Courtney Young, Howard
Outstanding Coach: Tonja Braxton, Howard


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