Springfield, Mass. - April 8, 2009 - The Springfield College softball team dropped a thrilling 16-11 extra-inning affair in the opening game of its conference doubleheader with the visiting Clark Cougars on Wednesday afternoon. Tied at 8-8, Clark used an 8-run 8th inning to break it open. In game #2, the Cougars led 3-1 entering the Top of the 5th inning before it was suspended due to darkness.
With the completion of one game, Clark raised its record to 9-16 overall, 5-6 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference. Springfield is now 8-15 overall, 3-4 NEWMAC. The suspended game will be made up at a later date, still to be determined.
In game #1, Clark immediately scored four runs in the top of the first inning on the strength of a grand slam home run by junior Darcy Kurashige-Elliott (Berkeley, Calif.). The outfielder had a great day overall as she went 4-for-6 in that first game with seven RBI's.
Springfield got one back in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by junior catcher Michelle Wlosek (Nutley, N.J.).
Clark added one in the top of the second on an RBI ground-out by freshman outfielder Stefanie Kettenacker (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.). But SC came right back with a run of its own in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by senior CF Angie Atkins (East Haddam, Conn.), making it 5-2.
The Cougars scored their sixth run in the top of the fourth on an RBI-double by junior P/1B Melissa Traft (Milton, Mass.). The Pride got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth on a sacrifice fly by senior LF Amanda Lyons (Eastchester, N.Y.) and on a bases loaded walk by Wlosek.
When Clark scored twice in the top of the sixth, on RBI singles by Traft and Kurashige-Ellliott , it appeared Clark had this game well in hand. But Springfield came back to tie it in regulation with two in the bottom of sixth and two more in the bottom of the seventh. In the sixth, Lyons singled in Atkins, who had doubled to start the inning. Later, freshman Mackenzie O'Dea (Weymouth, Mass.) walked with the bases loaded.
In the seventh inning, with one out, Atkins singled, then Lyons singled. At this point, Traft came on in relief, striking out senior 1B Aimee Cassella (Southington, Conn.). Up by two runs, Clark just needed one more out. Wlosek, however, lashed a single to score Atkins for one run, O'Dea then hit a double down the left field line to score Lyons to tie it up. But Traft got junior OF Bryn Worrilow (North Babylon, N.Y.) on a difficult fly ball to left field to send it to extra innings.
Clark then immediately scored eight runs on seven hits, plus the aid of one error and three walks. The go-ahead run was scored on a bases-loaded RBI single by Traft. That was followed by a 2-RBI single by Kurashige-Elliott. Later on, junior SS Chelsea Proulx (Franklin, N.H.) had a 2-RBI double in the same inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, sophomore OF Amanda Novak (Cos Cob, Conn.) popped a three-run home run to left to make the final score 16-11, Clark. Traft earned the win, lifting her record to 2-9. The loser was freshman Meghan Fitzgerald (Troy, N.Y.), now 4-5.
Following the two-hour 35-minute first game, the second game began with the knowledge there was pretty much no way it was going to be completed. That game was suspended entering the top of the fifth, with the Cougars leading 3-1.
Springfield jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Wlosek singled home Atkins, who had singled to lead off the inning, and was then sacrificed to second.
Clark tallied three times in the top of the second. The first run was knocked in by freshman catcher Erin Murphy (Boxboro, Mass.). Later on, with two outs, Proulx hit a 2-run single to give the Cougars their 3-1 cushion.
With the sun going down rapidly, SC had an opportunity in the bottom of the fourth. The Pride had runners on first and second with one out. But O'Dea was out on a grounder, short to first. With the tying runs in scoring position, senior 2B Laura Riccio (Bristol, Conn.) also grounded to short, and play was then suspended.