Endicott upsets top seed Brandeis to win 2012 ECAC New England Softball Championship
WALTHAM, Mass. – With a two-run lead in
the bottom of the seventh, the Endicott softball team let one
Brandeis runner cross the plate but the Gulls escaped with a 7-6
victory to take the 2012 ECAC DIII New England Championship over
the top-seeded Judges.
Playing as the #3 seed in the tournament, Endicott went unbeaten through the Saturday portion of week-long tournament, dropped a game to Brandeis early Sunday then took down the Judges to capture their first ever ECAC New England title in program history.
In the championship game, sophomore Kelley Michael (Ipswich, Mass.) went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI. Her two-RBI double to left center that plated Jesse Bilafer (Concord, Mass.) and Jess Linden (Stratford, Conn.) proved to be the game-winning hit as it gave Endicott a 7-3 going into the bottom of the sixth.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Brandeis tacked on two runs of their own on RBI groundouts by Leah McWilliams (Billerica, Mass.) and Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn.). Endicott pitcher Nell O'Connor (Harwich, Mass.) who had come in relief of Meg Donegan (Atkinson, N.H.) with the bases loaded and no outs in the inning, got three straight batters groundout with two runs being charged to Donegan.
After a relatively quiet top of the seventh for Endicott,
O'Connor took to the circle again in the bottom of the seventh to
try and close and door on Brandeis. Judges senior Lauren
Porcaro (Shrewsbury, Mass.) doubled with one out to get into
scoring position and would later score on a RBI single up the
middle by sophomore Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn.).
A pinch runner for Nolan, the tying run, would advance all the way to third base but O'Connor forced a groundout to first baseman Nicole Devlin (Dudley, Mass.) to get the save and end the game.
O'Connor was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after posting a record of 2-1 with a 1.33 earned run average and one save. She struck out 13 batters in 21.0 innings in the circle.
Junior Byrne Katz (Trumbull, Conn.) had two RBIs in the game after a 2-for-4 day at the plate. Alexandra Moise (North Reading, Mass.) and Krista Fales (Melrose, Mass.) also drove in a run against Brandeis pitching. Junior designated player Colleen Martin (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) had one hit in four at bats but tied Bilafer and Kelley with a team-high two runs scored.
Earlier in the day, Martin accounted for Endicott's only offensive output in a 5-1 loss to the Judges in the first game of the championship round. Her eighth homerun of the season, a solo shot in the top of the seventh off Nolan, spoiled what would have been a shutout for Brandeis. Caroline Miller (Bala Cynwyd, Pa.) pitched six shutout innings before giving way to Nolan, allowing just two hits, walking one batter while striking out five to improve to 17-8 on the year.
Endicott closes out their 2012 season with a 26-18-1 overall record, their 13th straight year with at least 25 wins.