Springfield, Mass. - May 5, 2013 - The Springfield College softball team punched its ticket to the 2013 NCAA Division III Championship on Sunday afternoon by claiming the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship over Babson College by the score of 6-2 at Potter Field.
With the victory, Springfield is now 26-18 and will learn where it will play during the national tournament when the selection show airs on NCAA.com on Monday morning at 10:00 am. The Beavers, who are now 32-12, will await to see if they earn an at-large bid to the field.
Advancing to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2009, Springfield was led by Most Outstanding Player Kelly Blake, who batted a remarkable .600 in the championship. The senior shortstop also etched her name in the record books on Sunday, setting the program's career-mark for doubles as her two-bagger in the fourth gave her 64 for her career. In addition, head coach Julie Perrelli picked up her 100th career win in the championship victory.
Springfield 6, Babson 2
After Babson defeated Springfield in extra innings earlier in the afternoon, the final game proved to be a winner-take-all scenario. It was Springfield that raced out of the gates to start the nightcap, posting two runs on three hits in the first inning. With runners on the corners, Jenna Webb delivered a double to left field, scoring Melissa Nelson and Christina Leader.
The Pride added to its lead with a pair of runs in the third, this time utilizing small ball to get its runs across. Blake continued her hot play with a single to left, and following a bunt single by Leader, Breann Joyce reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Chelsea Bender then lined a two-run single up the middle, providing Springfield with a four-run cushion.
Babson's Caitie Benoit walked and Lindsey Schmid singled through the left side to put a pair of runners on with no outs in the fourth. However, Leader caught an Ashleigh Phelps fly ball and then and made a tremendous throw to get pinch runner Nicole Raveiter at third. Ashley Marino then induced a foul out by Kathleen Conway to get out of the frame.
Springfield posted two more runs in the fourth inning thanks to a Nelson double to right which plated both Blake and Ally Rivelli.
The Beavers scored their first run of the game in the sixth on a Conway double to right center, which allowed Schmid to score after previously singling to short.
In the seventh, Babson's Catie Funk slapped a single to right to score Maya Lacy, but Marino got the next two batters to pop out, and Blake corralled the final out to complete the championship victory.
Blake went 3-for-4 in the championship, while Bender went a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI. Marino was terrific in her only appearance of this year's NEWMAC Championship, going seven strong, giving up two earned runs off six hits while striking out five.
Schmid and Conway were the only two Babson players to have two hits in the loss, and Tess Rubega was charged with the loss against giving up nine hits in 4.2 innings which resulted in four runs.
Babson 7, Springfield 3 (9 innings)
Despite a thrilling extra-inning rally, the Springfield College softball team dropped the first game of the NEWMAC Championship on Sunday afternoon, 7-3, in nine innings on Potter Field. The Beavers plated four runs in the top of the ninth to propel themselves into a winner-takes-all championship game at 5:00 pm.
Springfield starting pitcher Jennifer Joseph was masterful to start the game, striking out the first five batters before Babson's Kathleen Conway hammered a double off the centerfield fence. Joseph would settle down and get Shorette looking to end the second frame.
Springfield scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the second. Jenna Webb led off the inning with a walk and moved into scoring position on a Breann Joyce single up the middle. Chelsea Bender sacrificed both runners over, but Webb was caught in a run down following a failed suicide squeeze. However, Babson catcher Emily Morris air-mailed the throw into left and Webb just beat the throw at home.
A double off the left field fence by Morris put another runner in scoring position for the Beavers in the third. After a walk was issued to Enos, Funk tied the game up after lacing a single up the middle. Benoit loaded the bases with an infield single, but Joseph added her seventh strikeout of the afternoon and induced a groundout to second to get out of trouble.
Springfield threatened in the third as Kelly Blake beat out an infield single, stole second, and was sacrificed to third. However, Conway fanned Melissa Nelson to escape the frame.
Conway put Babson on top after crushing a leadoff homer to right center in the fourth. Springfield tried to mount some momentum as Webb drilled a leadoff double over the right fielder's head to lead off the sixth, but the Pride couldn’t advance her as Conway struck out a pair to head into the final inning.
Down to a final out in the seventh, Blake cracked a double down the right field line, and moved to third on a passed ball. Christina Leader came up huge for the Pride, sending a hard hit single back up the middle to tie the game back up and force extra innings.
Funk began the eighth on second and moved to third on passed ball. Facing two strikes, Phelps drove a shot into left center to put the Beavers back on top, 3-2. Springfield answered back with a run of their own in the eighth. With Nelson on second, Webb destroyed a pitch for a double to center field. After Joyce earned a walk to put a pair on with no out, Babson caught an attempted sac bunt and doubled up Joyce on first. Relief pitcher Tess Rubega got out of the inning by getting Caitie Holik to fly out to left.
A sacrifice bunt moved Rubega to third and Morris once again came up with another RBI, delivering an infield bloop single to first. Another Enos single and a Funk walk loaded the bases, setting up Benoit’s heroics, as she doubled to left center, clearing the bases, to give Babson a four-run cushion.
Springfield didn’t go away quietly in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with two outs. However, Rubega got out of the jam with a groundout for the win.
Conway earned the no-decision as she tossed seven-innings of eight hit ball, giving up three runs and striking out seven. Rubega posted the victory, throwing the final two innings while not allowing a hit.
For the Pride, Joseph lasted four innings, striking out eight and giving up two earned runs off six hits. Caisie Cadorette was very strong in relief, going five innings, and striking out four despite giving up five runs off five hits.
Babson 6, Coast Guard 5 (8 innings)
Christa Shorette ripped a one-out single into left field to score pinch-runner Meghan Hayes from third to lift Babson College to a thrilling 6-5 victory on Sunday morning in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Softball Championship. With the victory, Babson advanced to take on Springfield College and will need to beat the Pride twice to secure the title.
Babson's Kathleen Conway earned the win to improve to 20-5 on the year. Going 7.2 innings in the circle, Conway struck out eight and allowed five runs, four earned, off seven hits. Jackie Enos went 3-for-4 at the top of the order for the Beavers, while Catie Funk added a 2-for-3 performance with two RBI.
Jessie Richardson led the Bears offense with two hits. In the circle, Kristine Kahl took the loss despite a strong effort in which she scattered 12 hits, giving up six runs, five earned, while fanning three.
The Beavers struck first with single runs in the second and third thanks to an RBI single by Conway and sac fly by Funk.
However, the Coast Guard bats came alive in the fifth as they registered five of their seven hits in the contest to plate five runs, opening up a 5-2 advantage.
Hannah Ingerson roped a run-scoring double before Richardson and Morgan Kingston accounted for three runs on a pair of singles. Holli Bastinck tacked on another RBI single for the Bears as it appeared to be in control of the game.
Babson would not be denied, answering right back in the bottom half of the frame with three runs of their own to even the contest at five. The Beavers strung together three singles, with Ashleigh Phelps' base knock to left field plating Funk for the game-tying run.
The Beavers threatened in the bottom of the seventh, with runners on second and third, but Kahl settled down to get a pair of outs to force extras.
Coast Guard went down in order in the eighth. Then Hayes was sacrificed over to third to put the game-winning run just 60 feet away. Faced with two strikes, Shorette ripped a single into left to complete the 6-5 win for Babson.