Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

May 25, 2014

VSU’s Britt, Robinson hope to bring title home

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State softball team is halfway to winning its second national championship in three years.

For two of the Blazers — Brittany Britt and Heather Robinson — picking up those two additional wins at the NCAA Division II national tournament in Salem, Va., would lead to an extra sweet homecoming. The two Lowndes High products would be bringing the national title home, and would add their names to the lore of TitleTown.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Britt said Tuesday before the Blazers departed for Salem. “All the people here are so loving and they are some of the best fans I’ve ever had. Just being a part of everything is such a great experience.”

Added Robinson: “It’s amazing. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve known coach since he taught my sister how to pitch. He’s just always been around. To get to play for him now and to get to go to nationals, especially since I’m just a freshman, is such a great experience. No matter the outcome, it’s still a great experience.”

They’ll get their chance to help Valdosta State make the outcome a joyous one when the Blazers resume play at 2:30 p.m. today in the tournament’s semifinal round against Southeastern Oklahoma, a game that will be carried on 92.1-FM.VSU, unbeaten in the tournament so far, needs just one win today to advance to Monday’s national championship game. The Savage Storm would need to beat the Blazers twice to accomplish the same.

Robinson, the Blazers’ freshman designated player, helped get VSU to this point by jumpstarting their 8-0 run-rule win against Dixie State on Friday with a solo home run in the second inning to put Valdosta State up 1-0. It was Robinson’s 11th home run of the season and continued a late surge from not just her, but VSU’s entire collection of freshmen.

Robinson hit two home runs in the Blazers’ South Super Regional-opening win against Alabama-Huntsville and added an RBI in the Super Regional clincher as well. She then had two hits in the Blazers’ comeback win against Wayne State in the national tournament opener Thursday.

Fellow freshman Morgan Butler homered in that same game against the Chargers and also had two hits in the 8-5 win against the Warriors in nine innings. Chelsea Canara homered against Wayne State as well as the clincher against UAH.

“I’m a homebody,” Robinson said earlier this week about the comfort of playing at home. “I don’t want to travel too far. And getting to say here close to my friends and family, I think it’s definitely been a lot easier on me.

“If I was far from home, I think I’d be extremely stressed out.”

While Robinson has made an impact with her bat, Britt’s impact has come via her feet. The sophomore speedster has taken just eight at-bats while playing in 49 games, used primarily as a pinch runner. She scored her 22nd run of the year Friday against the Red Storm, running for Kiley Rusen in the third inning when VSU pushed its lead to 3-0.

“I just love the atmosphere here,” Britt said. “I love all the girls and we have so much fun all the time.”

Now the Blazers are looking to extend that fun through Monday’s championship game and into another title celebration. One that would end with their return to Valdosta. Or for Robinson and Britt, home.

“The community is such a great community,” Robinson said. “I mean all these people are here right now. It’s just a great feeling to see how much they care, especially since so many of them are locals too.”

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