LEICESTER, Mass. – The Regis College softball team had two strong starts with both ending in defeats today in the final round of the New England Collegiate Conference softball tournament. The Pride lost to Becker to open the day then fell to Newbury in the losers bracket to close its season at 17-14.
Game One: Becker 10, Regis (Mass.) 6
Regis leapt a 5-0 lead through the top of the third. The Hawks would battle back, however, putting up four runs in the bottom of the third and another three in the fourth to go on top. RC cut it to one with a solo run in the fifth, but Becker would then pad its lead with three in the sixth before finishing off the opening win.
Hawk senior center fielder Jessica Wheelahan (Watertown, Conn.) was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored for the hosts while sophomore third baseman Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn.) turned in a 2-for-4 showing at the plate. Lee scored twice and drove in five runs, tagging a pair of homers in the win. Freshman catcher Megan Klemanchuck (Pawtucket, R.I.) went 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI.
Becker senior pitcher Kelsey Norberg (Uxbridge, Mass.) picked up the win from the circle, improving to 15-3 as she let up just four earned runs while striking out two. Regis senior righty Katie Cuozzo (Lynn, Mass.) suffered the loss (12-5), striking out a pair in the defeat.
RC senior first baseman Alyssa McKinnon (Rowley, Mass.) was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and another batted in while sophomore designated player Amanda Navarro (Stoneham, Mass.) tallied a 3-for-4 performance at the plate of her own, scoring once and tallying an RBI in the effort. Senior second baseman Michaela Nejaime (Sandisfield, Mass.) was 2-for-3 for the Pride, scoring once and batting in another run.
Regis got on the board quickly, tacking up a lone run in the top of the first with the help of a leadoff double to center by senior center fielder Kirbie Garvey (Littleton, Mass.). She moved up to third on a wild pitch during the next at bat before the Hawks nearly got out of the inning as Norberg retired the next two batters. McKinnon would follow with a hot shot down the third base line, however, a liner that deflected off the Becker fielder's glove for the opening run to score.
The Hawks came close to tying the score in the home half of the frame, getting runners to second and third after freshman Jennifer ValAlphen (Hudson, N.Y.) started things with a bloop single to left. She moved up to second on a wayward throw back into the diamond, and then advanced 60 feet as Wheelahan reached on a high throwing error by Regis. Wheelahan stole her way into scoring position, but aggressive base running then closed out the box as a grounder to third turned into a double play as the Pride tagged out VanAlphen in a run down after she broke for home on the throw to first.
RC added to its upper hand in the second, scoring twice on three hits. Cuozzo drilled a double that hugged the third base bag, and she moved up on the throw from third during a one-out dribbler to the corner. Michaela Nejaime then sent a well-hit grounder up the middle to score the first run of the inning before she moved to second on a Hawk fielding miscue. Freshman shortstop Brianna Napoleone (Medford, Mass.) slapped a single through the right side of the infield, making way for Michaela Nejaime to touch third and beat the relay home for the 3-0 advantage.
After Becker stranded a runner in the bottom of the second, Regis kept its offense clicking in the third as the visitors added another pair to go ahead by five. McKinnon cranked a lead-off shot that looked to be destined for a homer, but Wheelahan was able to get her glove on it to keep the ball in play for a double. McKinnon would score on the next at bat, however, as Navarro tagged a double of her own over the right fielder's head. Sophomore catcher Alexa Nejaime(Sandisfield, Mass.) followed with a one-out hit to left center, driving in a run before getting thrown out at second trying to turn it in a double. Klemanchuck ended the frame as she tracked down a foul tipped back to the fence, but the damage was done as the Pride took the 5-0 separation.
Becker stormed back in the bottom of the third, getting Norberg some run support with four runs all coming with two down. A lead-off walk was scored with a two-out double to left off of Wheelahan's bat, and another walk then followed before Lee bashed her first collegiate home run over the fence in center to make it a 5-4 ballgame.
Norberg settled in from the circle, getting the Pride to go down in order in the top of the fourth. The Hawks then pulled in front, scoring three runs in the bottom of the box with some more two-out magic. MacLean worked a lengthy at bat before winning it with a double sent out to center, and she then came around from second on an RC throwing error for the first run of the inning. A walk preceded Wheelahan driving the ball to right, motoring around for the two-run triple that put Becker up 7-5.
Regis came back with one in the top of the fifth to trim its deficit after McKinnon knocked a one-out single to right. Navarro followed with a long, wall-scraping base hit to center to put runners at first and third, and a throwing error sent to the fence allowed McKinnon to scoot home to get her team within one at 7-6.
The Hawks almost got it back in the bottom of the frame, an error and a sacrifice bunt getting a runner to third with only one out. The Pride would cut her down going for home, however, as Michaela Nejaime collected the ball and fired to the plate to get the out.
RC made a bid in the sixth to tie it up, getting a lead-off Michaela Nejaime single to drop into right before a two-out double roped to left-center by junior third baseman Allison Caloggero (Medford, Mass.) put a pair in scoring position. Norberg got out of it, however, inducing an inning-ending ground out to third to preserve the slim advantage.
The Hawks gained some breathing room in the home box, picking up another three runs with two outs once again. Wheelahan sent a come-backer up the middle to get aboard, and Klemanchuck cranked a double out to right for the runner to score from first. Lee then followed with her second home run of the contest, knocking it out to left center to put her team up by four.
Norberg returned to the rubber and closed out the victory, preventing a lead-off Navarro single through the right side from hurting as the Becker senior got the next three batters to be retired in the air.
Game One: Newbury 7, Regis (Mass.) 6
Regis notched the opening scores of the game with three runs in the bottom of the first, holding that lead until the third when Newbury put up three as well to tie it. NC then grabbed the tight one-run lead with a solo score in the fifth, only to see the Pride answer with three in the bottom of the inning to go back in front. The Nighthawks stayed resilient, getting three back in the sixth to put the lead back on NC's side. RC would be unable to score the rest of the way as Newbury maintained its separation for the tight triumph.
Nighthawk freshman third baseman Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, R.I.) went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Sass was 1-for-2 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Donovan turned in a 2-for-4 showing at the plate while scoring once, and junior left fielder Naomi Ricciotti (Phoenix, Ariz.) was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and another batted in.
Milauskas returned to the circle to pick up the win (17-11), striking out two in the outing. Cuozzo took the loss (12-6), striking out one in her three innings of relief.
Navarro went 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBIs and two runs scored while McKinnon was 3-for-4 with a run scored. Garvey had a 1-for-4 showing at the plate with a run batted in, and freshman right fielder Allie Petillo (West Sayville, N.Y.) went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Donovan started the third game of the day with a single driven out to center, but she would be stranded at first as Milauskas retired the next three batters to get off the field. The Pride then took to the scoreboard in the home half of the inning, getting all their runs with two outs. Caloggero worked a walk to get onboard before McKinnon dropped one in just over the shortstop's head. Navarro followed with a homer jacked to right, putting her team on top 3-0.
Newbury got two on with one out in the second, a double pulled down the line in left by junior first baseman Liz Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii) putting a pair of Nighthawks in scoring position. But the Pride would get out of it on a double play turned with a pair of run downs; the lead runner was caught trying to go home, and Kia then got erased when she got stuck between second and third.
Michael Nejaime poked a one-out hit to right center before getting advanced by a single to third by Napoleone, but Newbury got the Pride to strand both runners to end the inning.
The Nighthawks then tied it up with three runs of their own in the top of the third, the inning being started when senior second baseman Elizabeth Fox (Orono, Maine) legged out a dribbler in front of the plate. A liner to second ensued for the second out, but the ball was thrown away in an attempt to double off the runner at third for Fox to trot home. Sass then crushed her second home run of the day to center to tie it at 3-3.
Regis put a runner at each base with one out in the bottom of the fourth but would leave them loaded as Milauskas got out of the jam with the help of some solid defense behind her. With one down, a sharply-hit ball to second was snagged by a diving Fox who made the throw to home from her knees to retire the lead runner. A final ground out back to the circle would end it for NC to preserve the tie.
A Milauskas single to short and subsequent Fox base on balls put two on for Newbury in the top half of the fourth, but a chopper to short saw the ball hit Milauskas in the foot for the third out of the inning. RC would leave a runner on in the bottom of the box, sending the game to the fifth still knotted at 3-3.
That's when NC chalked up a lone run in the top frame to take its first lead of the day, but not before Napoleone made a great diving catch on a shallow pop up near the third base line. Ricciotti singled with a hard-hit ball to first, and the next Newbury batter took a pitch to the elbow to put a pair on base. Vieira then singled to third to load the bases before Humphries hit one to the hole at second; Michaela Nejaime made a stellar diving stop to save one run, but the lead Nighthawk still crossed the plate as RC got the out at first.
The Pride then reclaimed the upper hand in the bottom of the inning, scoring three times to go up by a pair. Navarro started things with a base hit down the right field line, and Cuozzo followed with a one out single right behind the third base bag. Petillo wrapped a double just inside the third base bag to score the first run, and a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Michaela Najaime put RC up by one. Garvey then tallied a long two-out single to the outfield fence to plate Petillo and make it a 6-4 ballgame.
That lead wouldn't last long, however, as the second seed came back to get three of its own to jump on top. Donovan got it going with a one-out double to right, and Liggiero then singled through the left side to put runners at the corners. Liggiero stole her way into scoring position before a ball was misplayed at short for two runs to score and put the Nighthawks in front. Vieira singled through the left side, scoring the third run of the frame which put NC up by two.
Neither side would cross the rest of the way as Newbury was able to finish off the win to keep its postseason hopes alive. McKinnon doubled to left to get on for Regis with one out in the sixth; she would then try to score on a Navarro single up the middle, but Liggiero was able to throw a strike from center to the dish for the Pride runner to stop short before getting tagged out in the run down.
NC went down in order in the top of the seventh before returning to the field to wrap it up, Milauskas recording a 1-2-3 box to close out the win.