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Molloy Softball NCAA Division II East Champs

A grand slam from junior designated player Dayna White broke a scoreless tie in the fourth, and powered the No. 3 seed Molloy College softball team to its second NCAA Division II East Region crown with an 8-0 rout of fifth-seeded Adelphi University Saturday at Janet L. Ficke Field in Garden City, N.Y. The win now sends the Lions back to the NCAA Division II National Championship for the second time in four years.

Locked in a 0-0 deadlock after three, Molloy (52-12) got on the board in a big way in the fourth. Sophomore second baseman Brenda Lee and freshman catcher Milan Botte led things off with back-to-back singles. Freshman third baseman Tracey Balinskas then reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases, before White took a full-count offering from senior pitcher Laurin Watts out to left-center to give Molloy a 4-0 cushion.

One inning later, the Lions tacked on another four-spot to extend their advantage to 8-0. Balinskas plated senior outfielder Jeana Frey for the opening run of the frame via a fielder's choice. Later on, sophomore first baseman Victoria Gunnels belted a three-run no-doubter to center to round out the game's scoring.

That proved to be all Molloy needed, as Adelphi (41-19) was unable to scratch a run off senior pitcher Megan Butterworth in five innings. The lefty was stellar in the circle, fanning seven, while allowing just a pair of hits.

The Lions' East Region title is their first since 2010, when they stared down elimination, and won two straight against University of New Haven. That year, the NCAA Division II National Championship was held in St. Joseph, Mo.

Head Coach Susan Cassidy-Lyke and her Molloy squad are now off to Salem, Va. in search of their first-ever national championship. They will kick things off on Thursday (May. 23) against the South Region champion Valdosta State University at 2:30 p.m.

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