Softball wins in 11th inning to clinch NESCAC playoff spot
LEWISTON, Maine — The Bates College softball team came from behind to defeat Trinity College 9-8 in 11 innings in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, clinching second place in the NESCAC East Division and earning the Bobcats’ first berth in the NESCAC tournament’s nine-year history.
The visiting Bantams won Game 2 of the doubleheader 10-2 in five innings to wrap up the conference slate with a 5-7 divisional record, good for third place. They are 14-14 overall after winning two games out of three at Bates.
Bates (9-13, 6-6 NESCAC East) will play NESCAC West champion Wesleyan in the opening round of the NESCAC Championship, to be held at Tufts University May 1-3. The Bobcats and Cardinals will face off on May 1 at 5 p.m.
Bates scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings in Game 1, then won the game and clinched their playoff spot on first-year Leah Maciejewski’s (Tewksbury, Mass.) one-out, one-run double, which scored first-year Karen Ullmann (Ramsey, N.J.) from second base. Ullman had led the inning off with a walk.
Trinity scored once in the top of the seventh, on an RBI bunt single by Patricia Cipicchio, to extend its lead to 8-5. But Bates staged a comeback with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Senior Stacia Saniuk (Sharon, Mass.), who earlier in the game became Bates’ all-time leading hitter with her 111th career base hit, singled with one out before giving way to pinch runner Ullmann. Senior Leah Citrin (Rye Brook, N.Y.) followed with a single to center field, bringing up Maciejewski, who singled through the left side. After the throw home, the ball got away from Trinity catcher Ariana Mullin, and Ullmann dashed home from third base to close the gap to 8-6, while Citrin and Maciejewski advanced to third and second, respectively. First-year Monica Berube (Plaistow, N.H.) stepped up and singled to right center, scoring Citrin and Maciejewski to tie the game at 8-8. Trinity relief pitcher Kristen Anderson then got two straight outs to stop the damage any further, but the game was on to extra innings.
Anderson and Bates relief pitcher Kristen Finn (Winthrop, Mass.) traded shutout innings in the eighth, ninth and 10th, and Finn retired the Bantams without a score in the top of the 11th before Bates scored the game-winner.
Anderson (1-4) went seven full innings in relief of Trinity starter Katherine Poulos in accepting the loss, allowing six runs on 11 hits and one walk. Poulos allowed three runs on four hits and one walk in 3 1/3 innings.
Finn came on in relief of Bates sophomore starter Sarah Cullen (Dover, Mass.) to start the sixth inning, picking up the win as she allowed three runs, one earned, on eight hits and no walks. Cullen gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks.
Trinity got out to an early lead as Nicole Nardella doubled home Katherine Stoltenberg in the first, and Taylor LaRese hit a solo home run in the second.
Bates jumped ahead 3-2 with three runs in the fourth, as Maciejewski hit a two-run double and Berube added a one-run single.
The Bantams threatened the break the game open with three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Jessica Tait hit a three-run home run in the fifth, her second round-tripper of the season, and Stacy Hathcox’s sacrifice fly and Nardella’s one-run single in the sixth put the Bantams on top 7-3.
Bates responded with two runs in the sixth when senior Val Beckwith (Woburn, Mass.) singled, scoring Berube, and first-year Katherine Buckley (Middlebury, Conn.) came home on an error on the play.
Trinity scored an insurance run in the seventh when Melanie Orphanos singled, advanced to third on a double by LaRese, and scored on Cipicchio’s bunt single, giving the Bantams an 8-5 lead before Bates tied it back up in the bottom frame.
Both teams had 15 hits in Game 1. Maciejewski, Citrin and Berube had three hits apiece for the Bobcats, with Maciejewski and Berube both driving in three runs. Saniuk and junior Jean McIntyre (Marshfield, Mass.) had two hits apiece. For Trinity, Nardella, LaRese and Cipicchio (3-for-3) all had three hits.
In Game 2, the Bantams jumped on the Bobcats with five runs in the first and three more in the second for a quick 8-2 lead. They scored two runs in the fourth for a 10-2 lead, and once the fifth inning was finished they had clinched the mercy-rule win.
The first inning featured an RBI single by Mullin, a two-run double by Cipicchio and a steal of home by Cipicchio. Bates got two back in the bottom of the first on a bases-loaded walk to Berube, after McIntyre walked and later came home on a wild pitch. In the second, Tait had an RBI single and Cipicchio, who was 5-for-6 on the day with five RBIs, singled home two Bantams.
Trinity clinched the win in the fourth, as Stoltenberg singled and came home on a Nardella hit and a two-base error, then Nardella scored on a Mullin single.
Trinity had 12 hits in Game 2, with Mullin going 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs and Cipicchio going 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
Susan Arnold (1-0) earned the win, limiting Bates to two runs on four hits and three walks. Senior Christina Knobel (Walpole, Mass.) started and took the loss for Bates, allowing 10 runs, seven earned, in five innings.
It was the final home contest for four senior Bobcats: Beckwith, Citrin, Knobel and Saniuk.
Bates will play a doubleheader at Southern Maine on Monday at 3:30 p.m.
2009 NESCAC Softball Championship
Friday-Sunday, May 1-3
All games played at Tufts
Day 1: Friday, May 1
Game 1 2:30 p.m. Tufts (East #1) vs. Williams (West #2)
Game 2 5:00 p.m. Wesleyan (West #1) vs. Bates (East #2)
Day 2: Saturday, May 2
Game 3 10:00 a.m. Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 4 12:30 p.m. Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 5 3:00 p.m. Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
Day 3: Sunday, May 3
Game 6 10:00 a.m. Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5
If necessary, game 7 shall be played 20 minutes after conclusion of game 6 with the same two teams