Beverly, Mass. -- May 8, 2009 -- The Pride's Michelle Wlosek went 3-for-4, but in the end, it was the Coast Guard Academy which produced a 7-4 victory over Springfield College Friday in a second-round match at the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament at the Enfield Softball Stadium at Endicott College under sunny skies. That gives Springfield its first loss in this double elimination tournament. The Pride will play the host school, #4-seeded Endicott, Saturday at 12 noon in an elimination game. If Springfield wins that contest, it would then play the winner of Saturday's first game, #2-seeded Rhode Island College or #5-seeded Emerson, at 4 pm.
With the win on Friday, #3-seeded Coast Guard is now 38-5-1. Springfield falls to 21-23. It was billed as "Round 5" as both teams represent the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference. The Bears had won both regular-season meetings (5-4 in 9 innings and 5-1) and shared the NEWMAC regular-season title. Springfield had won two earlier post-season games versus CGA (3-1 and 7-0), and went on to capture the NEWMAC Tournament crown, gaining the automatic NCAA qualifier.
In this game, it was Springfield which raced out to a 3-0 lead after one inning. With one out, SC loaded the bases on a single by Amanda Lyons, a walk to Aimee Cassella, and a single by Wlosek. Bryn Worrilow knocked in the first run with a sacrifice fly to left. Amanda Novak then lined a hit off the second baseman's glove to score another. And finally, after a walk to Tess Gagliano, it was Laura Riccio who walked to force in the third run.
Coast Guard then tied it in the top of the third with three runs of its own on three hits and an error. The Bears added a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Jennie Crump. Then in the fifth, Courtney Wolf and Colleen Denny blasted back-to-back home runs, both to left field, to break it open (6-3) for CGA.
Coast Guard added one more run in the top of the seventh without benefit of a hit. The run came around on an error, wild pitch, a ground out, and a second error, making it 7-3.
It appeared SC might go quietly in the bottom of the seventh. But after the first two batters went out, Cassella reached on an error by the second baseman. Liz Milly pinch-ran for Cassella. Wlosek and Worrilow then both singled to load the bases. Novak then lined a single to score Milly, and suddenly the tying run was on base, and the winning run was at the plate. But a final foul pop-up to the catcher sealed it.
Two teams were eliminated Friday, #6-seeded Bridgewater State and #8-seeded Husson. Three more teams will be eliminated on Saturday.
"We had a real strong start in today's game," said Springfield Head Coach Kathy Mangano. "But we made some crucial physical and mental errors. It's not often you can win by making five errors, especially against this caliber of competition. I was very proud, however, of the way we battled back in the seventh. We'll need to carry that bit of momentum into Saturday."
For SC, senior lefthander Samantha Rhodes was the losing pitcher. She went 4+ innings, giving up 10 hits and 6 runs (4 earned). Freshman Meghan Fitzgerald went the last three innings, giving up 1 unearned run on no hits.