Marissa Young Husband, Marissa Young Opens Up About Emotional Journey as Husband Attends Duke’s ACC Title Win

Duke softball took home an ACC tournament crown in front of a packed home crowd on Saturday afternoon. For head coach Marissa Young, the triumph was especially poignant, as her husband, James Lamar, was able to attend his first game of the season amidst a year-long battle with serious heart and cardiovascular issues.

A Heartfelt Victory

For around a year, James Lamar has been grappling with an unspecified heart condition that required numerous surgeries and procedures. Last spring and early summer, he was on a ventilator before his condition showed signs of improvement. His presence at the game marked a significant milestone in his recovery journey, making Duke’s victory even more special.

“Incredible,” Young said on the ESPN broadcast, her voice tinged with emotion. “His first game of the season that he’s been able to get out of the house and come and obviously to win a championship at home in front of the largest crowd ever is just a dream come true.”

The home field celebration was further enhanced by the unveiling of the new ACC champions marker on the outfield wall, a symbol of the Blue Devils’ triumph in the conference tournament.

A Season to Remember

Duke’s victory was the culmination of a remarkable season. The team secured the regular season title, ensuring an acknowledgment marker on the outfield wall. With their ACC tournament win, Duke solidified their dominance by claiming both ACC titles available in 2024.

“Well, we put it up for regular season,” Young said. “We knew we still had work to do for tournament champs, but that was for our regular season championship.”

Duke, the No. 1 overall seed, completed a double-league championship by winning both the regular season and the conference tournament titles. This marked the second ACC tournament championship for the Blue Devils, showcasing their relentless drive and competitive spirit.

A Dramatic Comeback

The championship game against defending champion Florida State was a nail-biter. Both teams were scoreless through the first three innings until the Seminoles broke the deadlock with three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Kalei Harding hit a two-run home run, followed by an RBI double from Michaela Edenfield.

Duke quickly responded in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring two runs via a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. The one-run margin held until the bottom of the sixth inning when Duke’s offense came alive. Pitcher Ashtyn Danley loaded the bases with one out, setting the stage for a four-run rally that included singles, a fielder’s choice, and a costly throwing error by Florida State.

The error allowed the go-ahead run to score, giving Duke a three-run margin as they entered the final inning. Relief pitcher Cassidy Curd took the mound, needing just three outs to seal the victory. She delivered in spectacular fashion, including a dramatic final out where she knocked down a line drive and fired it to first base.

Pitching Prowess

Coach Marissa Young praised her pitching duo of Cassidy Curd and Jala Wright, highlighting their growth and adaptability throughout the season. “Both of them have really continued to get better as the season goes on,” Young said. “It’s a constant chess match with other opponents figuring out what they’re going to do against them, and I told them all year long, it’s never a loss, it’s a lesson. And Cass has really learned how to get people to chase and expand the zone and man, she was just lights out today.”

Wright started the game, setting the tone with her solid pitching, while Curd closed it out, demonstrating her ability to handle high-pressure situations and execute crucial outs.

Looking Ahead

With their ACC tournament victory, Duke has locked up an NCAA tournament bid, positioning themselves as strong contenders. The team’s resilience and ability to perform under pressure bode well for their postseason aspirations.

The No. 2 seed Seminoles are also expected to make the NCAA field as an at-large team, showcasing the strength and competitiveness of the ACC.

As Duke celebrates their championship, the emotional weight of the victory is not lost on the team, especially Coach Young. The presence of her husband, James Lamar, at the game serves as a powerful reminder of the personal battles and triumphs that often run parallel to athletic success. This victory is not just a testament to Duke’s prowess on the field, but also a celebration of resilience, love, and the unbreakable human spirit.

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