NEWPORT NEWS, VA (WTKR)- Don't expect and empty seat at Captains Park on Friday and Saturday. Don't expect it to be quiet either.
Hampton Roads will be treated to two of the best Division III softball teams in the country going head-to-head, both of which call the 757 home. Top-ranked Christopher Newport will hit the field against defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan in the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional in Newport News. The winner gets a ticket to the Division III Women's College World Series in Salem.
"That would be a great accomplishment for this team and for these young ladies who worked so hard this year," Captains' head coach Keith Parr said. "Obviously that's another step in our main goal this year."
"I don't think anybody here on the team currently has ever been to it," senior second baseman Maddie Hool said of the College World Series. "I think that would be great."
Christopher Newport hosted its regional pod and hit the field for practice on Tuesday afternoon. Virginia Wesleyan won its regional round in Amherst, Massachusetts, and did not practice on Tuesday.
These two Hampton Roads rivals have met 87 times since 1985, including this season's 6-1 Captains victory. Now the two clash with the stakes much higher.
"It's great for softball in general," Hool said. "Two top-ten ranked teams going off against one another and we're across the water from one another so that makes it even better, so it's always a great time when we play them."
"I can't wait for the atmosphere out here, for the athletes to be able to come out here and enjoy a really exciting crowd, an electric-type atmosphere to be able to play some college softball," added Parr.
Christopher Newport has won 17 games in a row and enters this stage of the postseason with a 40-1 record. One thing the Marlins possess that the Captains have never been able to achieve is a national championship. Virginia Wesleyan comes in looking to defend its title, the latest of three national crowns since 2017 for the program.
"They are a very good team," senior shortstop Natalie Carmichael noted. "They've been so good in the past, as we know, but there's a lot of motivation here, just because our team has done so well."
"It just gives us another team to play that's really good," added senior centerfielder Sarah Proctor. "They're ranked in the top ten and if you can get past them we'll be carrying ourselves in a good spot to go into the national championship."
Christopher Newport and Virginia Wesleyan open their Super Regional on Friday at 2:00 PM. Game two will be Saturday at 1:00 PM, with a game three following at 3:30 PM in necessary.