Wednesday afternoon in Gulf Shores, Ala., a pair of former LaFayette Lady Ramblers finally helped push them over the top.
Seniors Charlsie Broome and Emily Clements, playing their final game for the Lady Hawks, teamed up for the winning run in Shorter's 1-0 win over Oklahoma City.
Facing No. 3-ranked Oklahoma City and All-American ace pitcher Lily LaVelle for the second time in three days, Broome ripped a one-out triple to the right-centerfield wall in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Oklahoma City walked Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year Jackie Castaneda, who promptly stole second to take away the chance at an inning-ended double play.
That brought up fellow senior and Broome's old high school teammate Emily Clements, who ripped a ground ball to the left of Oklahoma City second baseman Angela Lovelady. Lovelady made the stop, but not in time to stop Broome from motoring home with the game-winning run.
Clements' game-winning hit capped a perfect 7-0 tournament run for Shorter (53-11) in their sixth consecutive and final trip to the NAIA national tournament. Shorter will begin competing next season in NCAA Division II.
Another player with local ties, LFO alum Maddie Bray, picked up the victory in the circle as the freshmen finished the national tournament unbeaten at 5-0.
Bray, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, threw all nine innings and shut out the perennial power Stars (47-20) on three hits. Bray, the SSAC Co-Freshman of the Year, ended her first season as a college pitcher with a 19-5 overall record.
Broome went 3-for-4 in her final game as a Lady Hawk, and made arguably the defensive play of the year in the top of the ninth, robbing Oklahoma City's LeeAnn Lopez of a home run by reaching over the centerfield wall to snag the line drive from beyond the fence to end the inning.
Shorter's 2012 season will go down as the best ever in program history. The Lady Hawks won a school record 53 games and won their pool at the national tournament for the third consecutive year, beating defending national champion Oregon Tech in the poll championship game to advance to the Elite Eight.
Once in bracket play, Shorter topped No. 2-ranked Cal State San Marcos (4-3) and Oklahoma City (3-1) in consecutive outings on Monday to reach the Final Four. There, they routed conference rival Brenau, 5-1, to advance to the national championship game.
Bray was joined on the All-Tournament team by Broome, Castaneda and Clements.