New London, Conn. -- April 29, 2010 -- The U.S. Coast Guard Academy scored two runs in the second and added one insurance run in the sixth to capture the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference Tournament championship game, 3-1, over Springfield College this afternoon. The Pride now must wait and see if it can sneak into the NCAA Regionals for the third straight year with an at-large bid, while the Bears have claimed the NEWMAC's automatic berth.
Springfield is now 22-18-1 entering its single game at Westfield State tomorrow. That contest could be very meaningful for the Pride if it is to even have a chance of making it into the NCAA's. Coast Guard, meanwhile, is now 30-8. The selections and sites for the NCAA Division III tournament will be announced on Monday, May 10th.
The Bears made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season as an at-large selection and advanced all the way to the New England region championship game.
In the end, it came down to the #1 seed defeating the #2 seed. Last Saturday, Springfield had beaten the Bears, 4-1, in the first of three NEWMAC Tournament jousts between these two clubs. That win had put SC into the driver's seat, forcing Coast Guard to win three games to win the tournament. But the Bears did just that, defeating Babson, 3-0, yesterday before defeating Springfield, 1-0, in championship game #1 and forcing today's climactic contest.
Coast Guard scored two in the second to take a 2-0 lead off of Pride freshman starting pitcher Stef Grande. Springfield then made it interesting in the sixth when it scored its lone run, and had two runners on base when the third out was made. The Bears then got that run right back in the bottom of the sixth.
Bears pitcher Hayley Feindel then struck out the side in order in the top of the seventh to put the finishing touches on the game, leaving SC senior catcher Michelle Wlosek in the on-deck circle.
Coast Guard wound up with 11 hits, while SC managed six.
In the second inning, CGA senior Carin Sweeney reached on an error to lead off, freshman Stacia Sarwinski followed with a single, and sophomore Jamie Kim’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third before Kim Cook hit a two-run single up the middle for what proved to be the big hit of the game.
Springfield got on the board in the sixth as senior catcher Michelle Wlosek led off with a double off the right field fence and classmate Bryn Worrilow followed with a single. Junior Amanda Novak drove in pinch runner sophomore Kelsey Dunn and reached on an error to put runners on first and second. But Feindel left the tying run at second by getting a pair of ground ball outs.
Junior Amanda Frederick got the run back for the Bears in the home half of the sixth with an RBI single, scoring sophomore Maddie Buchert, who led off with a single.
Frederick, Cook and Sarwinski each had two hits to lead the Bears while freshman Kelly Blake and Worrilow each had two hits for Springfield. Feindel, who leads the nation in strikeouts (331) and is among the leaders with 28 wins, went the distance and improved to 28-8 on the season. She allowed six hits and the one earned run, while walking one and striking out nine.
Grande (10-12) took the loss for Springfield. After pitching a four-hitter in yesterday's 1-0 loss, she lasted just 1 1/3 innings and allowed five hits and two runs, one earned, before being replaced by sophomore Megan Fitzgerald who scattered six hits and allowed one run while walking two and striking out three in 4 2/3 innings of work.