Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Elms College softball squad kicked off their New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) schedule by splitting a doubleheader with host Mitchell College at Alumni Field Sunday afternoon. With the split, the Blazers move to 3-7 overall and 1-1 in the NECC, while the Mariners sit at 1-1 in league play and 2-5 on the season.
Game 1: Mitchell 5, Elms 4
After three scoreless innings, the Blazers dented the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning with freshman Katelyn Sylvia (Southwick, Mass.) drilling a leadoff double to right field, and then scoring on an RBI single from sophomore Catharine Wrang (Middletown, Conn.)) to give Elms the 1-0 advantage.
The Mariners grabbed control in the bottom of the fifth behind an RBI single from junior Megan Elphick (Waterford, Conn.) and a two-run double by junior Danielle Autieri (North Salem, N.Y.) to hold a 3-1 lead. The Blazers responded in the top of the sixth as sophomore Erin O'Donnell (Glenmont, N.Y.) delivered a pinch hit RBI single to score Wrang, followed by a two-run triple from senior Tessa Cote (Granby, Mass.) to hand Elms a 4-3 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mitchell junior Samantha DelConte (Enfield, Conn.) reached on a bunt single, advanced to second on an error, and then came around to score on a wild pitch to even the game at 4-4. With two outs, Mitchell showed patience at the plate and drew back-to-back walks to load the bases, and then freshman Breanna Gagnon (Willimantic, Conn.) drew a game-winning walk to bring home Elphick for the winning run.
Sylvia and Wrang led the Blazers with two hits and a run scored each, while Cote knocked in a pair of runs. Sophomore Jeszy McGuire (1-1; Brimfield, Mass.) took the loss in relief of Cote, allowing two runs on one hit with a strikeout, while Cote registered five strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.
Game 2: Elms 8, Mitchell 0 (5 Innings)
The Blazers wasted little time getting on the board in the nightcap, taking a 1-0 lead behind an RBI sac fly from O'Donnell, scoring sophomore Madison Messier (Warren, Mass.) from third.
The Elms bats came alive in the fourth inning as the Blazers plated four runs in the frame, ignited by a ground-rule double from O'Donnell. Freshman Hannah Adams (Deerfield, Mass.) clubbed an RBI double to left field, scoring O'Donnell, and then touched home on a Mariners fielding error to hand Elms a 3-0 lead. Junior Elizabeth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.) ripped an RBI double, followed by an RBI single from sophomore Raeanna Tumel (Stafford, Conn.) to extend the Elms cushion to 5-0.
The Blazers carried their offensive momentum into the fifth inning with leadoff singles from Messier and Sylvia. O'Donnell laced an RBI single through the right side to bring home Messier, and then Sylvia raced home on a sac bunt from Adams. Elms delivered their final blow as Olszewski lifted an RBI sac fly to right field to bring home O'Donnell and send Elms to the 8-0 victory.
O'Donnell and Sylvia paced Elms at the dish with two hits apiece, while O'Donnell knocked in two runs and scored twice. Adams and Olszewski both drove in a pair of runs, and Messier scored twice in the win. Tumel (1-2) collected her first win in the circle this season, limiting the Mariners to three hits in five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
The Blazers will be back in action with a road trip to Westfield State for a non-conference doubleheader Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Mitchell travels to Dean for a non-conference doubleheader Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.