RALEIGH, NC – Winston-Salem State (30-21) claimed the 2016 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Softball Championship when junior short stop Rebecca Demko hit a walk off RBI single in the seventh inning to claim their second championship in the last three seasons. The clutch play gave the Rams a 5-4 win over the Chowan Hawks (29-14) in the 2016 CIAA Softball Championship Game.
The Rams took the win behind a great overall effort as they finished the game with nine hits while holding the Hawks to just four runs on 10 hits. WSSU junior pitcher Mercedes Hargett pushed the Rams to the title with a two-for-three batting effort with a run scored and an RBI. Junior first base Katherine Zimmer added two-for-four batting effort with two runs scored and an RBI.
The game turned out to be a thrilling affair with the Rams and the Hawks battled to the very end. After Chowan struck first when they scored in the first inning, but the Rams answered in the bottom of the inning when freshman outfielder Destiny Snipes hit an RBI single that scored Hargett to tie the game 1-1 after the first inning. The Rams gained their first lead of the game in the third inning when Zimmer hit an RBI triple that scored sophomore catcher Melissa Carillo and she was able to score on a Chowan fielding error. Chowan cut into the WSSU lead with fifth-inning score and put the Rams behind in the seventh inning when they hit a seventh-inning home run and an RBI triple. From there, the Rams answered with a seventh-inning rally that claimed the title. Hargett kicked things off when she hit an RBI single that scored Carillo, tied the game, and set the stage for Demko's heroics. Snipes was intentionally walked to fill the bases and set the stage for Demko's heroic ending to the game.
Hargett (20-10) took the pitching win, going all seven innings. She finished the game with four runs allowed (four earned). She also added nine strikeouts with just two walks. Along with her batting efforts, Hargett was named the 2016 CIAA Softball Tournament MVP.
She was the first of several Rams to be named to the 2016 CIAA Softball All-Tournament team. Joining Hargett on the all-tournament team was Demko and junior outfielder Idaysha Quinones.
With the win, the Rams claim the 2016 CIAA Softball Championship, the team's first since the 2014 season. For their efforts, several Rams were named to the 2016 CIAA Softball Tournament team.
The Rams will await selection to the upcoming 2016 NCAA Atlantic Region Tournament. For more information on Rams softball, contact the WSSU Office of Athletic Media Relations at (336) 750-2143 or log on towww.WSSURams.com.