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Sports Article
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Fretz Overcomes Finger Injury to Win National Championship
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Four weeks after splitting her right index finger, Karlee Fretz found herself at the plate during a pivotal moment during the NCAA Regional playoffs. She delivered a

Karlee Fretz holds the national championship

trophy she helped Virginia Wesleyan Univer-

sity wint.  Fretz delivered a game-clinching 

three-run homer during the championship 


walk-off hit.

            Last week, during the NCAA National Championship Series, Fretz smacked a three-run home run for Virginia Wesleyan. The next day, she celebrated a Division III softball championship.  "It was so much fun," said Fretz, a Green Lane resident, who finished the season with a .394 average (26-for-66), five home runs and 23 RBI.

            Fretz batted sixth for the Marlins (46-6-1) in the decisive game of the best-of-three series on June 1. She went hitless in a 3-1 victory over Texas Lutheran University in Salem, Va.

            The 2018 graduate of Upper Perkiomen enrolled at the small liberal arts college on 300-acres in Virginia Beach knowing that the softball program would likely contend for a national title. The program won national championships in 2017 and 2018. However, after injuring her finger on a swing during an April 22 doubleheader against Emory and Henry College in Danville, Fretz said she expected to celebrate a potential championship from the sidelines.

            She suffered the injury swinging at a rise ball. According to Fretz, the ball smashed her finger against the bat. She said the worst part was sitting in an emergency room for five hours holding a paper towel over her finger.  "There was a lot of blood," Fretz said.

            The injury forced her to miss the Marlins' final four regular season games, as well as the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Championship Tournament, which they hosted and won for the fifth consecutive season. Fretz returned to action in their NCAA Regional opener, starting at first base in their initial two games.

            In the third game, Fretz came off the bench to deliver the decisive hit in a 4-3 victory over The College of New Jersey. Her two-run single down the left field line, which capped a 12-pitch at-bat, overcame a 3-2 deficit.  "Walking up the plate I told myself I had to come through," Fretz said. "The team was counting on me. The more pitches I saw, the more relaxed I got."

            In the national championship tournament, Fretz drove in three runs for her team in a 12-1 win over Birmingham-Southern College on May 29. In the first game of the final series against Texas Lutheran, Fretz's three-run homer in the first inning carried the Marlins to a 4-2 victory.

"I hadn't hit that well previously," she said. "So it was very exciting."

            Fretz pitched for Virginia Wesleyan before shifting to first base midway through the season. In 11 innings, she registered 17 strikeouts and posted a 6.36 ERA.

            As a freshman, Fretz made just seven plate appearances. She drove in three runs and posted three hits. On the mound, she posted a 2-0 record. In seven innings of work, she allowed just one earned run and three hits while registering five strikeouts.

            In 2020, Fretz appeared in 26 games before the season was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. She went 4-for-15 at the plate.





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