Columbus, Ga. – [Schedule] [Bracket] The 2024 NAIA Softball World Series came to a close today as Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) held on for the 2-0 victory at South Commons Complex and R.G. Jones Field over Jessup (Calif.). The Saints will take home not only the first Red Banner in program history but also the first Red Banner in school history across their 18 sponsored sports.

Game 18: No. 1 Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) def. No. 7 Jessup (Calif.), 2-0

Both OLLU and JU were unable to get any offense started in the first inning of tonight’s championship game each going three-up and three-down. The Warriors of Jessup (Calif.) had the first look at possibly lighting the scoreboard up, but JU was unable to drive her around in the top of the second as the score remained tied at 0-0.

In the bottom of the third inning, Our Lady of the Lake’s (Texas) leadoff batter Kayla Dreese singled up the middle before she stole second in what was the Saints best look to take the lead early. Marissa Bradley squeezed a single deep down the left-field line which allowed Dreese to plate the first run of the game and put OLLU ahead 1-0 with no outs. As the Saints continued to battle at the plate, Jessup got the force out at third to get the lead runner for the first out and attempted to double up with a dart across the diamond, but it was just a little late. The Saints later stranded those two runners on base after a routine flyout to right field to end the third.

The battle for the Red Banner continued to heat up late in the game as Sam Lorge for the Warriors singled up the middle with one out. The heads-up play from OLLU pitcher Cassandra Valdez was able to field the hard-hit ground ball back to her, turn around, and get the lead runner out at second, for the second out of the inning while on the next pitch Valdez threw was a routine fly out to center field as the Saints looked to extend their lead.

After a three-up and three-down top of the fifth to keep the Saints ahead 1-0, they looked to strike again as Valdez singled to center field. Jessup called for an official review as the OLLU runner left early. The Warrior’s challenge was successful and the runner for Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) was called out for leaving the base early, to allow JU the chance to tie the game.

Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) held Jessup (Calif.) scoreless in the top of the sixth inning as they continued to lead 1-0. In the bottom of the sixth, leadoff batter Madison Garza sent a high fly ball over the wall in left-center that pushed the Saints lead to 2-0 as Jessup was down to their final three outs of the game. Valdez, the World Series MVP continued her strong performance in the circle for what looked to be a complete game. Valdez saw three batters in the top of the seventh and got three outs with the help of the defense behind her with a pair of popouts and a deep fly out to left field to end the game and allow Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) to take home the programs first Red Banner.

Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) stat leaders for the championship game:

  • Madison Garza: 1-for-3, a run, an RBI, and a home run
  • Kayla Dreese: 1-for-2, a run, and a stolen base
  • Marrisa Bradley: 1-for-2 with an RBI
  • Cassandra Valdez: 7.0 innings pitched, four hits, one walk, five strikeouts, 25 batters faced, and 79 total pitches

Jessup (Calif.) stat leaders for the championship game:

  • Sam Lorge: 1-for-2, with four fielding assists
  • Terra Goetz: 6.0 innings pitched, six hits, one walk, five strikeouts, 24 batters faced, 95 total pitches

All-Tournament Team Honorees

Annalise Jarvis – Georgia Gwinnett

Hailey Seva – Southern Oregon

Amber Gainer – Cumberlands (Ky.)

Talli Burgess – Cumberlands (Ky.)

Maeson Schlaud – Madonna (Mich.)

Alissa Gauthier – Madonna (Mich.)

Kacie Schmidt – Oregon Tech

Puakea Milbourne – Oregon Tech

Sophie Williams – Science & Arts (Okla.)

Macenzie Ruth – Science & Arts (Okla.)

Malea McMurtrey – Science & Arts (Okla.)

Maddy Ybarra – Jessup (Calif.)

Kayla Dreese – Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)

Sarah Giles – Jessup (Calif.)

Cassandra Valdez – Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)

Sam Lorge – Jessup (Calif.)

 

Tournament MVP – Cassandra Valdez – Our Lady of the Lake (Texas)