SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – April 28, 2007 – Junior Jenna Harvey pitched a hard-earned two-hitter to lead upstart Wellesley College, the #6 seed, to a 4-2 victory over top-seeded Springfield College in a winner’s bracket game of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Softball Tournament this afternoon at Potter Field on the campus of Springfield College.
With the win, Wellesley raised its record to 21-12, while Springfield fell to 23-13. Wellesley, the lowest seed, is now 3-0 in the tourney. The Blue had beaten the #3-seed, Babson, 2-0, to start the tournament last Wednesday. They then defeated the #2-seed, Wheaton, 11-8, in a second-round game, played immediately after the first game. And now today, Wellesley has beaten the #1 seed, NEWMAC regular-season champion Springfield, 4-2, to gain control of the tournament.
Wellesley has advanced to the championship round. It will play Sunday at 12 noon at Potter Field against an opponent yet to be determined. If Wellesley should lose that game, it will have a second opportunity to win the NEWMAC championship in an “if-necessary” game at 2 pm. All games will be played at SC’s Potter Field. The winner of the NEWMAC Tourney will advance to play in the NCAA Tournament starting next week.
In other games played today at Potter Field, Wheaton eliminated #5-seeded Smith, 12-3 in five innings. Then Babson eliminated #4-seeded Clark, 3-0. Wheaton and Babson play the final game of today’s action starting at 4 pm. The loser of that game will be the third team eliminated in this double elimination tourney.
It was Springfield that opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Junior second baseman Denise Fumicello (Brockton, Mass.) opened the inning with a walk. She advanced to second on a wild pitch, but moments later, sophomore centerfielder Angie Atkins (East Haddam, Conn.) walked. The third batter of the inning, sophomore left-fielder Danielle Spiro (South Windsor, Conn.) then doubled to right field, scoring two runs. The next two batters went out, but freshman shortstop Jaimie Moran (Manchester, Conn.) singled to left, with Spiro holding at third. Freshman right-fielder Bryn Worrilow (North Babylon, N.Y.) then walked to load the bases. But Harvey struck out sophomore first baseman Loni Rodriguez (Westfield, Mass.) to end that threat.
Little did anyone know that Harvey would retire 15 straight batters, starting with Rodriguez, and would not allow any more hits.
Wellesley did most of its damage in the top of the second inning, scoring three times. Harvey, a junior from London, Ontario, singled up the middle. One out later, sophomore center-fielder Amanda Tai (Melrose, Mass.) reached on an error by the second baseman, with Harvey scoring the first run. Tai stole second. Then freshman right-fielder Ilana Orloff (Weston, Mass.) tripled to plate the second run. Freshman left-fielder Megan Wood (Jacksonville, Fla.) then singled to right for the third run.
Wellesley added its fourth and final run in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, junior catcher Kara Wong (Milford, Mass.) doubled down the right-field line. Then with two outs, Harvey helped her own cause by singling to center, knocking in Wong.
In the Springfield sixth, the Pride got something going, but only because Harvey had a momentary streak of wildness. With two outs, she hit sophomore DP Aimee Cassella (Southington, Conn.) with a pitch. Then Moran walked, putting runners on first and second. But Harvey bore down to strike out Worrilow swinging.
Harvey struck out 12, including the game’s last two hitters, while walking four. The two runs were earned. She had entered the game with a 1.25 ERA. The two hits she allowed came in the first inning. Harvey is now 15-4.
The tough-luck loser was junior right-hander Stephanie Blackman (Stamford, Conn.). She gave up four runs (only one earned) on nine hits, striking out six and walking none. Blackman is now 12-6.