Rylie Grisham of Mississippi University for Women won the home run derby held in conjunction with the United States Collegiate Athletic Association softball Small College World Series on Sunday in DuBois, Pennsylvania.
The freshman from Athens, Alabama, hit six home runs in the first round, the second-best total in an event in which the top four of 10 competitors – one from each school in the field – advanced to the second round.
Grisham’s total of 14 home runs in the second round doubled up her closest competitor and punched her ticket into the finals. She started slowly, making outs on her first four swings, then went on a roll, hitting six in a row at one point and hitting 16 home runs on her next 22 swings to beat out runner-up Gabriela Obando of Florida National University by seven.
“I honestly did not think that I was going to win,” Grisham said. “I was just there to have fun and represent The W. I felt honored that coach Buddy (Foster) chose me to represent The W in the home run derby. I am also thankful that my team was here to support me, because it definitely helped to hear them yell for me.”
The Owls, the sixth seed, will begin play in the tournament at 7 p.m. Monday against Penn State-Brandywine. It will be the last of six games on the opening day of the tournament, which will conclude on Thursday. All games will be at Heindl Field in DuBois.
Owls Game Day
WHO: Sixth-seeded Mississippi University for Women (14-18) vs. third-seeded Penn State Brandywine (32-11).
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. CDT Monday at Heindl Field, DuBois, Pennsylvania.
SERIES HISTORY: First meeting.
HOW TO WATCH: All games can be viewed live online by visiting theuscaa.com and clicking “Watch Live” or by going directly to the USCAA Sports Network at uscaasportsnetwork.com. Single games can be streamed for $8 per game, and the championship games will be $10. An all-access pass is available for $25. The USCAA’s smallcollegeworldseries.com will offer live stats, results, schedules and all other items related to tournament play.
ABOUT THE LIONS: Brandywine is making its seventh consecutive Small College World Series appearance after winning the Penn State University Athletic Conference title for the seventh consecutive season. Their 32 wins are a school record, and the Lions are the first PSUAC team to win more than 30 games in a season since 2007. The Lions lead all USCAA teams with 312 runs scored in 41 games. Brandywine also ranks third nationally in team ERA (2.70) and fifth in fielding percentage (.946). The Lions are the only team in the 10-team field to rank in the top five in each category. Meghan Ferry leads the USCAA in home runs with 10. Brandywine has played 15 games against World Series participants this spring, winning 13 of them. The Lions went 4-0 against Penn State Hazleton and Central Maine, defeated Penn State DuBois four times in five meetings and split a doubleheader against Penn State Schuylkill.
UP NEXT: The winner will face either D’Youville, Penn State DuBois or Carlow at 3 p.m. Tuesday, while the loser will face either Penn State DuBois or Carlow at 11 .m. Tuesday.