New London, Conn. - April 26, 2009 - The Springfield College softball team won three games on the final day for the second straight year as it captured the 2009 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Softball Tournament on Sunday afternoon.
Senior Samantha Rhodes threw her third complete game of the day and fourth-seeded Springfield outscored its opponents 23-2 in winning three games and capturing its second straight title.
The Pride (20-22) beat second-seeded Wellesley twice by 8-1 scores in the championship round after beating top-seeded Coast Guard 7-0 in the first game of the day.
Springfield College thus earns the NEWMAC conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. That Tourney will begin with Regional sites around the nation, and will be played May 7-10, or May 7-11. The three closest regional sites to Springfield are Beverly, Mass. (Endicott College), Ithaca, N.Y. (Ithaca College), and Mahwah, N.J. (Ramapo College).
This conference title is Springfield's sixth of the academic year. It has now earned five NEWMAC titles (in field hockey, women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's swimming & diving, and softball), and one in the New England Collegiate Conference (men's golf).
For Head Coach Kathy Mangano, who is closing out her coaching career following this season, this actually marked her third straight NEWMAC title of sorts. Springfield College won the regular-season NEWMAC title in 2007. Her teams have won the NEWMAC Tourney titles in 2008 and 2009. Today's three victories give Coach Mangano a total of 478 in her twenty-year career at Springfield College. It marks the fourth straight season Springfield College has won at least 20 games, and the 10th time in the last eleven seasons that has occurred. Springfield won the NEWMAC title as the third-seed in 2008.
Captains Laura Riccio and Angela Atkins along with head coach Kathy Mangano
Rhodes (12-10) scattered seven hits and allowed just the one earned run, while not walking a batter and striking out two in the second championship game.
Aimee Cassella put the Pride on the board in the top of the first with an RBI-single, scoring Angela Atkins, who had singled and stole second.
Wellesley got the run back in the home half as freshman Elora Daniele bunted for a hit, stole second, and scored on an RBI-single by sophomore Allison Davis.
Springfield took the lead 2-1 in the fourth as junior Caitlin Corry led off with a single, stole second, was bunted to third, and scored on a throwing error.
The Blue threatened in the bottom of the fourth, as they had the bases loaded with just one out, but Rhodes got a strikeout and then a ground ball to end the inning.
The Pride scored four runs in the sixth with seniors Atkins and Cassella each recording two-run singles, and then two more in the seventh on a pinch hit two-run triple by junior Bryn Worrilow to close the scoring.
Senior class alongside head coach Kathy Mangano
Freshman Sarah Sherburne (3-2), making just her sixth start of the season for Wellesley, went 5 2/3 innings, allowing ten hits and six runs (five earned) while walking just one and striking out seven. She took the loss.
Cassella had two hits and three RBI while Atkins had two hits, two RBI, and two runs scored. Amanda Novak and Corry each added two hits as the Pride had fourteen hits overall in the clinching win.
In the first game versus Wellesley, Springfield exploded for eight runs in the fourth inning enroute to that 8-1 win.
Rhodes (11-10 following that win) allowed just four hits and one earned run while not walking a batter and striking out four to pickup the complete game victory.
In the eight-run fourth, the Pride had five hits and took advantage of two errors. Cassella had a two-run single in the inning while freshman Tess Gagliano added an RBI single, and Atkins and Corry each walked with the bases loaded.
Wellesley (21-14-1) had taken the lead in the top of the fourth as Alison Davis led off with a single, was bunted over to second, and scored on a single by junior Alex Warren.
Senior Barbarajean Grundlock (14-9) worked 3 2/3 innings allowing eight runs (six earned) while also walking eight in taking the loss.
Atkins and Corry each had two hits for the Pride in that first game.