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OLLU softball team wins NAIA World Series

May 29, 2024

World Series ChampsOLLU’s softball team won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) World Series on May 29, defeating Jessup University, 2-0, to claim the university's first national championship in any sport.

Saints pitcher Cassandra Valdez threw a four-hit shutout and was named NAIA World Series Most Valuable Player. In four tournament games, Valdez, a graduate student, threw three shutouts and gave up three runs. 

“Cassie is the best player in the country,” OLLU Coach Bruce Lenington said. “Without a doubt, she was dominant in this tournament.”

The Saints completed a historic run. They held the nation’s No. 1 ranking in every poll throughout the season and, at one point, won 45 consecutive games, a national record among all softball teams this season -- NAIA and NCAA 

In the championship game, Marissa Bradley drove in Kayla Dreese with an RBI single in the third inning, which proved to be the winning run. Madison Garza slammed a solo home run in the sixth for insurance.

OLLU fielded its first softball team in 2009-2010 and finished 30-16. The Saints advanced to the NAIA World Series last season but were eliminated after losing their first two games.

“I’m just really, really proud of our team,” Lenington said, “and super happy for all of our players, past and present.”