SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – April 29, 2007 – Senior Stacy Schlicht pitched a five-hitter to lead #3-seeded Babson College to a 2-1 victory over top-seeded Springfield College in an elimination game of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Softball Tournament this morning at Potter Field on the campus of Springfield College.
With the win, Babson, the two-time defending champion of this tournament, raised its record to 25-15, while Springfield fell to 23-14. Babson will now play #6-seeded Wellesley, the tourney’s lowest seed, in the championship game. Babson must defeat unbeaten Wellesley (3-0) twice to win the title. If Babson wins the championship game that begins at 12 noon, there will be a second championship game between the same two teams, the winner advancing to the NCAA Tourney.
Babson is now 3-1 in this tournament. The Beavers began by losing to Wellesley, 2-0, last Wednesday in a game played at Wheaton. Babson then won twice yesterday at Springfield, winning the first game over Clark, 3-0, followed by a second-game victory over Wheaton, 9-7. Wellesley, meanwhile, sailed along by winning its first three games of the tourney. The Blue had beaten 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 last Wednesday. Then yesterday, Wellesley defeated the #1 seed, NEWMAC regular-season champion Springfield, 4-2, to gain control of the tournament.
In this morning’s game, the first order of business was determining who would be the home team, and that turned out to be Babson.
Like it did yesterday against Wellesley, Springfield struck immediately in the first inning. Junior second baseman Denise Fumicello (Brockton, Mass.) reached second on an error by the left-fielder to lead off. She advanced to third on a bunt single by sophomore center-fielder Angie Atkins (East Haddam, Conn.). One out later, Fumicello scored on a single by freshman catcher Michelle Wlosek (Nutley, N.J.). Sophomore DP Aimee Cassella (Southington, Conn.) walked. But freshman shortstop Jaimie Moran (Manchester, Conn.) lined out to shortstop to end one of SC’s best threats of the game.
Babson scored its two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Senior center-fielder Andrea Cartullo (Holbrook, Mass.) tripled to right field to lead off. Following a ground out to the pitcher, the runner holding, sophomore first baseman Kaitlyn Clark (Ramsey, N.J.) reached first on a bunt single. But the runner at third still held. Clark then stole second to put runners on second and third. The next play was key, as freshman left-fielder Michelle Bolduc (Darien, Conn.) hit a grounder to short for an error. Both Cartullo and Clark scored, giving Babson its 2-1 lead.
Springfield threatened in each of its last three innings. In the top of the fifth, Fumicello doubled with two outs, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. But Atkins then flew out to medium-deep center-field. In the top of the sixth, the Pride had runners on first and second with two outs, but freshman right-fielder Bryn Worrilow (North Babylon, N.Y.) lined out to shortstop.
In the top of the seventh, sophomore first baseman Loni Rodriguez (Westfield, Mass.) ripped a single up the middle to lead off the inning. Pinch-runner Laura Riccio (Bristol, Conn.) was sacrificed to second by sophomore third baseman Shanda Kogut (Preston, Conn.). Fumicello was then hit by a pitch. With runners on first and second, Atkins then lined out sharply to right field. Sophomore left-fielder Danielle Spiro (South Windsor, Conn.), then grounded to short for the final out.
Schlicht, a senior from Hillsborough, Calif., lifted her record to 9-6. Junior right-hander Stephanie Blackman (Stamford, Conn.) took the loss. She is now 12-7. Both pitchers gave up just five hits and no earned runs while going the distance. Schlicht walked two and struck out five. Blackman struck out one and walked no one.
Springfield’s season will continue Monday when it travels cross-town to Western New England College for a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m.