Softball advances to World Series

TUSCALOOSA, ALA -- In a tightly contested championship game, No. 1 seed Alabama dispatched No. 6 seed Southern Illinois 2-0 to advance to its second Women's Collegiate World Series in four years.

The Tide hosted and won the NCAA Region 8 Softball Tournament held here at the Alabama Softball Complex.

"I have been envisioning this moment for seven years and to have it finally happen is incredible," Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said of winning the tournament on his home field. "There was a lot of 'we' not 'me' on this team. We don't have one big star or two big stars. Everybody on this team does their job and this is a great reward for this team.

"I wanted it for (the players) so they could experience it."

Alabama improved to 49-19 while Southern Illinois fell to 39-14.

The two teams went through five and half scoreless innings before Alabama broke it open in the bottom of the fifth with a solo homerun from Jackie Wilkins. Ashley Courtney tacked on another run later in the same inning.

Junior Erin Wright (21-5), who picked up the save against SIU in the day's first game, pitched a three-hit gem in which seven of the last nine outs were strikeouts. Sophomore Amy Harre (23-10) took the loss. Harre pitched 16 innings on the day, including a complete game again UMass to get the Salukis to the championship game.

Alabama freshman Stephanie VanBrakle was voted the tournament's MVP, while Wright, freshman Dominique Accetturo and senior Lacy Prejean made the All-Tournament team from Alabama. Harre, Maria Damico, Jenny Doehring and Haley Viefhaus made the All-Tournament team from SIU. Illinois' Rachelle Coriddi and Erin Jones, along with UMass' Katie Jo Kelley, Stanford's Dana Sorensen and Georgia Tech's Jessica Sallinger also made the elite roster.

NCAA Region 8 Softball Tournament Results:

Champion: Alabama

Runnerup: Southern Illinois

All-Tournament Team
Dominique Accetturo, 2B, Alabama
Rachelle Coriddi, SS, Illinois
Maria Damico, OF, Southern Illinois
Jenny Doehring, SS, Southern Illinois
Amy Harre, P, Southern Illinois
Erin Jones, 3B, Illinois
Katie Jo Kelley, 3B/C, UMass
Lacy Prejean, C, Alabama
Jessica Sallinger, Georgia Tech
Dana Sorensen, P, Stanford
Erin Wright, P, Alabama
Stephanie VanBrakle, P, Alabama
Haley Viefhaus, 3B, Southern Illinois

Most Valuable Player - Stephanie VanBrakle, Alabama

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