VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's one thing to talk about getting clutch hits, quite another to go out and actually deliver them. The Marlins did both Saturday in a satisfying doubleheader sweep of gritty Roanoke during the fourth annual Strike Out Cancer Day.
Season Dailey's seventh inning shot into the right-center gap drove in the winning run for a 2-1 victory in the opener. A couple hours later, it was Brianna Bertotich's turn, as her two-out, seventh-inning liner over the second baseman's head cemented another 2-1 victory in the nightcap.
"I just followed (Season's) lead," Bertovich said. "She got the big hit in the first game, and I just said, 'You know, I'm going to do that, too.' "
But the biggest winner of the day came in the fight against cancer. The event, held annually in honor of the late Elaine Sears, mother of Marlins softball coach Brandon Elliott, raised approximately $8,500 for cancer research, nearly $2,000 more than the previous high.
"This just hits home for so many people," Dailey said. "She's always in our heart."
In the opener, Dailey (Norfolk, Va./Cox) got into position to be the heroine after Kristina Karagiorgis led off the seventh with a soft line single to right, Bertovich (Richmond, Va./Monacan) sacrificed her to second and Karagiiorgis reached third on a passed ball.
"It was just looking for something on the outside corner, and looking for a gap shot," Dailey said. "We really needed that hit."
"We worked all week on shortening up, stepping up and coming through in clutch situations," the coach said. "The kids bought in."
Bertovich was particularly pleased to come through in the nightcap as her game-winning hit came one inning after a frustrating at-bat in the sixth. With the Marlins trailing 1-0, Jaclyn Quinn (Chesapeake, Va./Hickory) ed off the inning by drilling a triple into the rightfield corner. Karagiorgis then reached on a fielder's choice and stole second, putting runners at second and third. But Bertovich hit a one-hopper to the pitcher, who was able to trap Quinn off third and retire her in a rundown.
Dailey followed with a walk and Heather Bishop (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) bounced a bases-loaded RBI single past the second baseman to plate the tying run. Still, Bertovich said she was eager for another chance to come through.
One inning later, she got that chance.
"I didn't come through in the sixth, so I knew I had to get it done in the seventh," she said.
The doubleheader sweep gave the Marlins three straight victories and wins in four of their last five games, and Elliott hopes it provides some positive momentum heading into Tuesday's home doubleheader against tough Christopher Newport.
"That's a big-time team we beat over there, and these were two really well-played games," Elliott said. "So this is something we can build on, especially with Christopher Newport coming in here."