Gordon hits winning HR in 8th to beat #1 Oklahoma in World Series opener

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Kate Gordon

~ PVN staff report

LURAY, June 3 — Of all the accolades that Page County product Kate Gordon has racked up in her five years at James Madison University, none will compare to the history she made this afternoon in Oklahoma City.

In the Dukes’ first appearance in the NCAA World Series, Gordon hit a go-ahead, solo home run in the top of the eighth inning to give JMU a 4-3 lead over #1 Oklahoma. The fifth-year senior then caught the final out in left field to clinch the series-opening victory that has shocked the world of college softball.

Oklahoma (50-3) entered the game as the heavy favorite — in the game and the World Series. The Sooners’ potent offense was averaging 11 runs per game and has been dubbed the “best-ever” in college softball. However, JMU hurler Odicci Alexander fanned nine Sooners on the day — more than any opponent the No.1 team had faced all season. Oklahoma had only suffered a dozen strikeouts in the entire postseason before Thursday.

Prior to the game-winning round tripper this afternoon, Gordon had gone 2-for-24 and had not gotten a hit in her last 14 at-bats.

“It’s been a little frustrating,” Gordon told ESPN analysts after the game. “I just told myself nothing else matters except that at bat.”

And that at-bat, sends James Madison into Friday’s second round at 1-0 in the double-elimination tournament.

The Sooners’ three runs on Thursday came in the bottom of the third inning, answering a three-run home run by JMU’s Sara Jubas in the top of the inning. Gordon’s dinger in the eighth proved to be the only scoring in the game outside of the third inning.

James Madison (40-2) will now face the winner of Thursday’s matchup between unranked Georgia and #5 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Friday. The Dukes are considered the “Cinderella” team of the double-elimination tournament, and knocking off No.1 in the opening game is a great way to start. No unranked team had reached the World Series since 2012.

Gordon’s parents, grandparents and uncle were able to make the trip to Oklahoma City to see the series unfold in person. Gordon, who deflected questions about herself after the game, says whatever the future may hold, the Dukes will do it as a team.

“Our team is playing for each other, and we pick each other up,” Gordon told ESPN on Thursday. “We’re playing with heart and for each other.”



As a Redshirt Senior (’21)

  • Named to the USA Softball Top 50 Watch List
  • Named a 2021 Preseason First-Team All-American by D1 Softball
  • Named a 2021 Preseason Second-Team All-American by Softball America
  • Named to Softball America’s Preseason Top 100 (#25)

As a Senior (’20): 

  • VaSID All-State First Team
  • VaSID All-State Player of the Year
  • Named to Softball America’s Shortened Season College Top 100 
  • Started in all 19 games at left field recording a fielding percentage of .944.
  • Had a career high of three put outs against Virginia (3/3/20).
  • Finished with a batting average of.557 and a slugging percentage of 1.180.
  • Holds the program career home run record with 50.
  • Holds the highest career batting average and slugging percentage at JMU.
  • Named CAA Player of the Week after recording one double, five home runs, eight RBIs and scored 12 runs over the course of six games (3/10)
  • Recorded a season high of two home runs in a single game against Connecticut (3/6/20).
  • Named Louisville Slugger/NFCA Player of the Week after going 16-for-20 with four doubles, one triple and three home runs in six games at the Georgia Classic (2/25).
  • Had a season high of four RBIs against North Carolina A&T (3/1).
  • Recorded a season high of four hits in one game twice; Georgia (2/21/20), North Carolina (2/19).
  • Named CAA Player of the Week after posting a batting average of .800 at the Georgia Classic (2/25).
  • Named to the USA Softball Top 50 Watch List
  • Named a preseason All-American by Softball America
  • CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll (Fall ’19 and Spring ’20)

As a Junior (’19): 

  • NFCA All-America Third Team
  • Softball American All-America Third Team
  • NFCA All-Northeast First Team 
  • VaSID Player of the Year
  • VaSID All-State First Team
  • All-CAA First Team
  • CAA All-Tournament Team 
  • All-ECAC Team
  • Started in all 61 games of the season in which she played left field in 60 
  • Posted a .420 batting average on the season with a career-high 81 hits, 23 home runs and 60 RBIs 
  • Set a school and conference record for home runs in a single season
  • Broke the program’ single-season record for: runs scored (66), total bases (169), home runs (23), slugging percentage (.876)
  • Reached base in 30 straight games while leading the team with 25 multi-hit contests
  • CAA Player of the Week (2/19, 4/19)
  • Went 4-for-4 against FAU at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (2/16)
  • Hit three home runs against #6 Tennessee at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (2/16)
  • Selected for Fastpitch News Preseason All-America Second Team
  • Fastpitch News Player of the Week (2/19) 
  • Spring ’19 Dean’s List

As a Sophomore (’18): 

  • NFCA All-America Third Team
  • NFCA All-Northeast Region First Team
  • VaSID All-State First Team
  • All-CAA First Team
  • All-ECAC First Team
  • Named CAA Player of the Week (4/30) after putting up five runs on five hits against Hofstra as well as four RBIs
  • Started in all 57 games this season, posting a .400 batting average
  • Recorded 48 runs on 72 hits with 50 RBIs
  • Finished the season tied for 14th nationally with a team-leading 19 doubles
  • Knocked 14 home runs
  • Recorded 19 multi-hit games – the second most amongst the Dukes
  • Led JMU with 28 walks
  • Went 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs and a two RBI homerun in 7-0 win over Elon on (4/21)
  • Named CAA Player of the Week after going a perfect 9-for-9 behind the plate in the sweep against Delaware (4/9), finishing the weekend with eight runs and three RBIs
  • Went 3-for-3 at the plate, with three doubles in 13-1 win over Delaware on (4/8)
  • Had a season-high four hits, going perfect from behind the dish in victory over Delaward (4/6)
  • Broke the single game RBI record with six in victory against UNCW (3/31)
  • Had a single, two doubles, and a walk in 11-3 win over UNCW on (3/30)
  • Went 2-for-4 at the plate and hit fifth homerun of the season against Ohio (3/17)
  • Hit the leadoff home run, her third of the season, in 5-1 win over California (3/2)
  • Stole one base in an 8-0 win vs. Morehead State on (2/18)

As a Freshman (’17):

  • Made 34 appearances with 17 starts behind the dish
  • Held a .340 average at the plate going 18-for-53
  • Knocked five doubles, one triple and three home runs for a .642 slugging percentage
  • Tallied 11 RBI with eight runs scored
  • Recorded 113 putouts with nine assists while committing just one error for a .991 fielding percentage
  • Launched a double in JMU’s 8-0 win at North Carolina on April 26
  • Went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a home run against Virginia (4/4)
  • Knocked first career home run against College of Charleston (4/1) to plate a career-high two runs
  • Tallied career-high two hits, including first career double and an RBI, against Yale (2/24)
  • Batted first RBI in shutout victory over Saint Joseph’s (2/19)
  • Recorded first career hit and run in season-opening victory over #17/19 Missouri

Before JMU

  • Earned First Team All-District and named 2016 District Player, First Team All-Region and 2A Region Player of the Year as well as First Team All-State and 2A State Player of the Year over her senior season
  • Named 2016 First Team All-Conference
  • Selected as the DNR 2016 All-Area Player of the Year
  • Picked up WHSV Student-Athlete of the Week honors
  • Earned Most Valuable Player honor after leading the East Team to a come-from-behind victory in the 2016 Virginia High School Coaches Association All-State Game, closing the game with a home run and a double
  • Won the 2015 Shenandoah District, Conference 35 and State 2A Championships
  • Named the Shenandoah 2015 District Player of the Year
  • Earned 2015 First Team Shenandoah All-District, All-Conference 35, All-Region B and VHSL All-State honors while earning 2A State Player of the Year accolades
  • Tied VHSL single-season home run (17) and runs scored (54) records, while leading Page County with a .653 batting average
  • Won 2014 Shenandoah District, Conference 35 and State 2A Championships
  • Racked up 2014 First Team All-Shenandoah District, All-Conference 35, All-Region B and VHSL All-State First team honors, while being named 2A State Player of the Year
  • As a sophomore, led the team with a .522 batting average and broke Page County’s single-season home run record (11), while trying the VHSL record for home runs in a single game (3)
  • 2013 Shenandoah District Regular Season and Tournament Champions
  • Earned First Team All-Shenandoah District, All-Region B Group A honors and was named an All-State Honorable Mention
  • Led Page County with a .460 average and four home runs
  • Also competed for TNT Gold Softball


  • Born December 17, 1997
  • Majoring in hospitality management
  • Daughter of Buck and Megan Gordon
  • Father, Buck, played football and baseball at Bridgewater College, while spending three years in the Cubs organization, while mother, Megan, played volleyball and softball at Bridgewater
  • Has a younger brother, Tristan, and a younger sister, Maddie
  • Served as treasurer for the National Honor Society, while also a member of the Honor Roll, Shenandoah University Leadership by Design and earned an Academic Letter
  • Also lettered in basketball and volleyball at Page County



Panthers pick up 2 more wins and move to No.1 in district and region at 7-0

Panthers move to 5-0 with two slaughter-rule victories this week

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