Lynchburg Sports Team of Distinction: 2008 Softball

Lynchburg College logo on white background. Text: 2008 softball Lynchburg sports team of distinction

Lynchburg, Va. -- Nobody outside the program thought they would make it so far.

Especially with all the talent the Lynchburg College softball team lost to graduation in 2007: five starters and two All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference players, including the best offensive player in the history of the league.

But the 2008 Lynchburg softball team had its NCAA Division III regional experience the year prior -- the first NCAA tournament berth in program history -- and they came back hungry for more.

"The group that came back home after getting a taste of that worked really hard," Lynchburg head coach Dawn Simmons remembered. "They were led by that experience and that work ethic. It was like a different gear."

The 2008 Hornets won a school-record 39 games and reached the Division III World Series -- one of the last eight teams in the country. It was the first time in the institution's history that a Lynchburg team reached the final weekend of an NCAA tournament.

That 2008 softball team will be immortalized in Lynchburg athletics lore as a Lynchburg Sports Hall of Fame Team of Distinction at tonight's Alumni Awards Dinner, set for 6:30 p.m. in Burton Dining Hall, and alumni who wish to attend can register here.

"Is this really happening?" then-senior third baseman Elizabeth Perkins remembered thinking as the team got off the bus at Salem's Moyer Sports Complex.

It was the same site at which the Lynchburg team captured an ODAC title earlier that season -- the same place many of those Hornets grew up playing travel ball tournaments for countless years -- but something about the national championships was different.

"It wasn't ODACs. It wasn't even regionals," Lynchburg assistant coach Audra Della Rosa, a sophomore outfielder on that team, recalled. "It definitely was the big stage."

And that coming from a team that played on big stages already that season. The Hornets rolled through the conference tournament, starting with a four-home run first inning in the tournament opener against Bridgewater in a 15-7 win, and ending with a 4-1 championship win over Virginia Wesleyan.

"That momentum definitely took us into postseason," Simmons said.

The team then defeated nationally ranked opponents in LaGrange, Neumann, and Ursinus at the regional tournament.

"We were confident all year," Perkins said. "We did all buy in."

But that confidence came before the ODAC title, before the regional run. It came from knowing that they'd worked harder and longer in the preseason than any other team in the nation. There was a running joke in Lynchburg softball: if it was light enough to see, you'd be on the field.

"I can remember a time when you had your helmet on hitting, and there's icicles forming on your helmet," Perkins said.

It worked out for her to the tune of an All-American and ODAC player of the year season; the senior hit .425 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI in the season.

Perkins, center fielder Brittany Allsop, first baseman Tara Campbell, and pitcher Katie Bruce were all-region selections.

Bruce, a freshman, paired with Barbie Miles as a dominant one-two punch in the circle. Remembering her first collegiate season (in which she was ODAC pitcher of the year), Bruce said the key was going into collegiate ball without expectations.

"I wanted to prove to my team that I could be whatever role they needed me to play," Bruce said. "That actually helped. I didn't have a bar set. … I went in calm and collected because I'm there to do my job. I don't really have anything to compare it to."

It worked to the tune of a 1.61 earned run average and 16 complete games.

The team performed admirably in the tournament but fell 1-0 to No. 7 Muskingum and 4-0 to No. 6 Ithaca to be eliminated.

But that's not the story of the 2008 season that the team remembers. Instead, it's the practices that went deep into the night, or the pregame ritual of turning the music up and rocking the charter bus before disembarking for a ballgame.

It was fun.

"The most memorable part was the fact that we had the best chemistry," Bruce recalled. "Our senior leaders were so strong, so welcoming and open. And I think their attitudes cascaded all the way down to us as freshmen. It was a very dynamic and inclusive team."

And in the numerous times they've been together since -- from graduations to weddings to the birth of children -- that chemistry remained.

"Most of the time it's like nothing's changed," Perkins said.

This is the fifth and final piece in a series of features on the 2018 Lynchburg Sports Hall of Fame Class, which ran on LynchburgSports.com Monday, Oct. 15-Friday, Oct. 19 in the week leading up to its induction.

--LYN--

No Event
No Event
No Event
No Event
Sun Oct 28
Final
0 Randolph
3 No. 10 Lynchburg
Game 4 - ODAC Quarterfinals
Wed Oct 31
Final - 2OT
1 Washington and Lee
2 No. 15 Lynchburg
Game 5 - ODAC Quarterfinals
Wed Oct 31
Final
1 Lynchburg
3 at Bridgewater (Va.)
Match 4 - ODAC Quarterfinals
Fri Nov 02
Final
1 Roanoke
3 Lynchburg
Game 3 - ODAC Semifinals
Fri Nov 02
Final - OT
0 Washington and Lee
1 vs. Shenandoah
@ Lynchburg, Va. Game 4 - ODAC Semifinals
Sat Nov 03
7th/8
at Randolph IHSA
Sat Nov 03
Final
5 No. 16 Lynchburg
1 vs. Randolph-Macon
@ Bridgewater, Va. Game 7 - ODAC Semifinals
Sat Nov 03
Final
1 Bridgewater (Va.)
0 No. 10 Lynchburg
Game 7 - ODAC Semifinals
Sat Nov 03
Final
2 Shenandoah
7 Lynchburg
Game 5 - ODAC Championship
Sun Nov 04
Final
0 Va. Wesleyan
3 vs. No. 16 Lynchburg
@ Bridgewater, Va. Game 8 - ODAC Championship
Wed Nov 07
Final
1 No. 20 Denison
3 Lynchburg
NCAA Division III Tournament -- First Round
Thu Nov 08
Final
57 Ferrum
75 Lynchburg
Non-Conference Game
Sat Nov 10
Men 6th/Women 7th
vs. NCAA South/Southeast Region Championships
@ Mount Berry, Ga.
Sat Nov 10
7th/8
Lynchburg IHSA
CODE RED Day
Sat Nov 10
Final
0 Lynchburg
1 at No. 3 Rowan
NCAA Division III Tournament - Second Round
Sat Nov 10
Final
1 Piedmont
2 No. 17 Lynchburg
NCAA Division III Tournament - First Round
Sat Nov 10
Final
52 N.C. Wesleyan
80 Lynchburg
Note time change
Sun Nov 11
Final
80 St. Mary's (Md.)
83 Lynchburg
Sun Nov 11
Final
0 No. 22 Emory
2 No. 17 Lynchburg
NCAA Division III Tournament - Second Round
Tue Nov 13
Final
60 Averett
52 Lynchburg
Fri Nov 16
Final
69 Moravian
63 vs. Lynchburg
@ Union, N.J.
Fri Nov 16
Final - PK Away
2 No. 17 Lynchburg
2 vs. No. 2 Messiah
@ Newport News, Va. NCAA Division III Tournament - Third Round
Sat Nov 17
vs. NCAA Division III Championships
@ Winneconne, Wis.
Sat Nov 17
Final - 2OT
79 Lynchburg
83 at Kean
Sat Nov 17
Final
48 Randolph
60 Lynchburg
Sat Nov 17
Final
0 No. 17 Lynchburg
1 at No. 8 Chris. Newport
NCAA Division III Tournament - Quarterfinals
Tue Nov 20
Final
49 Lynchburg
64 at Mary Washington
Sun Nov 25
Final
72 East. Mennonite
87 Lynchburg
Tue Nov 27
Final
68 Lynchburg
60 at Washington and Lee
Wed Nov 28
Final
66 Emory & Henry
87 Lynchburg
Thu Nov 29
Final
55 Lynchburg
58 at Randolph-Macon
Fri Nov 30
vs. Bast-Cregger Invitational
@ Roanoke College, Salem, Va.
Sat Dec 01
vs. Bast-Cregger Invitational
@ Roanoke College, Salem, Va.
Sat Dec 01
Final
48 Randolph
82 vs. No. 22 Chris. Newport
@ Lynchburg, Va. (Turner Gymnasium) Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 1
Sat Dec 01
Final
64 Mary Washington
69 Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 2
Sun Dec 02
Final
66 Randolph
75 vs. Mary Washington
@ Lynchburg, Va. Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 3
Sun Dec 02
Final
74 Lynchburg
62 at Shenandoah
Sun Dec 02
Final
64 No. 22 Chris. Newport
77 Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 4 | CODE RED Game
Wed Dec 05
Final
78 No. 22 Lynchburg
82 at Guilford
Wed Dec 05
Final
54 Randolph
80 Lynchburg
Sat Dec 08
Final
78 No. 22 Lynchburg
76 at Methodist
Sat Dec 08
Final
73 Va. Wesleyan
55 Lynchburg
Sun Dec 16
Final
59 McDaniel
83 Lynchburg
Sat Dec 29
2:00 PM
Muskingum
vs. Lynchburg
@ Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C. Guilford Classic
Sat Dec 29
2:00 PM
Chris. Newport
Lynchburg
Lynchburg Holiday Classic
Sun Dec 30
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
vs. Greensboro
@ Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C. Guilford Classic
Sun Dec 30
4:00 PM
Meredith
Lynchburg
Lynchburg Holiday Classic
Tue Jan 01
4:00 PM
Averett
Lynchburg
Sat Jan 05
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at East. Mennonite
Sat Jan 05
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Mon Jan 07
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee
Lynchburg
Wed Jan 09
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Emory & Henry
Wed Jan 09
7:00 PM
Hollins
Lynchburg
Sat Jan 12
2:00 PM
Va. Wesleyan
Lynchburg
Sat Jan 12
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Emory & Henry
Wed Jan 16
7:00 PM
Guilford
Lynchburg
Thu Jan 17
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Washington and Lee
Fri Jan 18
vs. VMI Keydet Invitational
@ Lexington, Va.
Sat Jan 19
vs. VMI Keydet Invitational
@ Lexington, Va.
Sat Jan 19
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Bridgewater (Va.)
Sat Jan 19
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at East. Mennonite
Wed Jan 23
7:00 PM
Guilford
Lynchburg
Coaches vs. Cancer Week
Wed Jan 23
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph
Fri Jan 25
vs. Liberty University Kickoff
@ Lynchburg, Va.
Sat Jan 26
vs. Liberty University Kickoff
@ Lynchburg, Va.
Sat Jan 26
2:00 PM
Roanoke
Lynchburg
Alumni Day
Sat Jan 26
4:30 PM
Randolph-Macon
Lynchburg
Alumni Day/Coaches vs. Cancer Week
Wed Jan 30
7:00 PM
Emory & Henry
Lynchburg
Wed Jan 30
7:30 PM
Lynchburg
at Roanoke
Sat Feb 02
vs. Vince Brown Invitational
@ Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Va.
Sat Feb 02
2:00 PM
Bridgewater (Va.)
Lynchburg
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
Thu Nov 08
Final
57 Ferrum
75 Lynchburg
Non-Conference Game
Sun Nov 11
Final
80 St. Mary's (Md.)
83 Lynchburg
Sat Nov 17
Final
48 Randolph
60 Lynchburg
Sun Nov 25
Final
72 East. Mennonite
87 Lynchburg
Wed Nov 28
Final
66 Emory & Henry
87 Lynchburg
Sat Dec 01
Final
48 Randolph
82 vs. No. 22 Chris. Newport
@ Lynchburg, Va. (Turner Gymnasium) Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 1
Sat Dec 01
Final
64 Mary Washington
69 Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 2
Sun Dec 02
Final
66 Randolph
75 vs. Mary Washington
@ Lynchburg, Va. Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 3
Sun Dec 02
Final
64 No. 22 Chris. Newport
77 at Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 4 | CODE RED Game
Wed Dec 05
Final
78 No. 22 Lynchburg
82 at Guilford
Sat Dec 08
Final
78 No. 22 Lynchburg
76 at Methodist
Sun Dec 16
Final
59 McDaniel
83 Lynchburg
Sat Dec 29
2:00 PM
Muskingum
vs. Lynchburg
@ Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C. Guilford Classic
Sun Dec 30
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
vs. Greensboro
@ Guilford College, Greensboro, N.C. Guilford Classic
Tue Jan 01
4:00 PM
Averett
Lynchburg
Sat Jan 05
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Wed Jan 09
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Emory & Henry
Sat Jan 12
2:00 PM
Va. Wesleyan
Lynchburg
Thu Jan 17
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Washington and Lee
Sat Jan 19
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at East. Mennonite
Wed Jan 23
7:00 PM
Guilford
Lynchburg
Coaches vs. Cancer Week
Sat Jan 26
4:30 PM
Randolph-Macon
Lynchburg
Alumni Day/Coaches vs. Cancer Week
Wed Jan 30
7:30 PM
Lynchburg
at Roanoke
Sat Feb 02
2:00 PM
Bridgewater (Va.)
Lynchburg
No Event
View Full Schedule
No Event
No Event
Sat Nov 10
Final
52 N.C. Wesleyan
80 Lynchburg
Note time change
Tue Nov 13
Final
60 Averett
52 Lynchburg
Fri Nov 16
Final
69 Moravian
63 vs. Lynchburg
@ Union, N.J.
Sat Nov 17
Final - 2OT
79 Lynchburg
83 at Kean
Tue Nov 20
Final
49 Lynchburg
64 at Mary Washington
Tue Nov 27
Final
68 Lynchburg
60 at Washington and Lee
Thu Nov 29
Final
55 Lynchburg
58 at Randolph-Macon
Sun Dec 02
Final
74 Lynchburg
62 at Shenandoah
Wed Dec 05
Final
54 Randolph
80 Lynchburg
Sat Dec 08
Final
73 Va. Wesleyan
55 Lynchburg
Sat Dec 29
2:00 PM
Chris. Newport
Lynchburg
Lynchburg Holiday Classic
Sun Dec 30
4:00 PM
Meredith
Lynchburg
Lynchburg Holiday Classic
Sat Jan 05
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at East. Mennonite
Mon Jan 07
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee
Lynchburg
Wed Jan 09
7:00 PM
Hollins
Lynchburg
Sat Jan 12
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Emory & Henry
Wed Jan 16
7:00 PM
Guilford
Lynchburg
Sat Jan 19
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Bridgewater (Va.)
Wed Jan 23
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph
Sat Jan 26
2:00 PM
Roanoke
Lynchburg
Alumni Day
Wed Jan 30
7:00 PM
Emory & Henry
Lynchburg
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
No events to show.
No Event
No Event
No Event
Sun Oct 28
Final
0 Randolph
3 No. 10 Lynchburg
Game 4 - ODAC Quarterfinals
Sat Nov 03
Final
1 Bridgewater (Va.)
0 No. 10 Lynchburg
Game 7 - ODAC Semifinals
View Full Schedule
No Event
No Event
No Event
Wed Oct 31
Final - 2OT
1 Washington and Lee
2 No. 15 Lynchburg
Game 5 - ODAC Quarterfinals
Sat Nov 03
Final
5 No. 16 Lynchburg
1 vs. Randolph-Macon
@ Bridgewater, Va. Game 7 - ODAC Semifinals
Sun Nov 04
Final
0 Va. Wesleyan
3 vs. No. 16 Lynchburg
@ Bridgewater, Va. Game 8 - ODAC Championship
Sat Nov 10
Final
1 Piedmont
2 No. 17 Lynchburg
NCAA Division III Tournament - First Round
Sun Nov 11
Final
0 No. 22 Emory
2 No. 17 Lynchburg
NCAA Division III Tournament - Second Round
Fri Nov 16
Final - PK Away
2 No. 17 Lynchburg
2 vs. No. 2 Messiah
@ Newport News, Va. NCAA Division III Tournament - Third Round
Sat Nov 17
Final
0 No. 17 Lynchburg
1 at No. 8 Chris. Newport
NCAA Division III Tournament - Quarterfinals
View Full Schedule