Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College softball team fell to visiting Becker College in a New England Collegiate Conference doubleheader at Cheryl R. Condon Field Sunday afternoon. The Blazers slide to 5-12 overall and 3-3 in conference action, while Becker rises to 2-0 in the NECC and 6-8 on the season.
Game 1: Becker 9, Elms 0 (6 Innings)
The Hawks holstered a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning behind an RBI single from senior Katelyn MacLean (North Reading, Mass.). The Blazers had an opportunity to even the score in the bottom of the second, but they left runners stranded at second and third. Becker added to their advantage in the top of the third as two runs came home on a bloop single to right field from senior Ashley Ciepiela (Adams, Mass.) to stake the Hawks to a 3-0 advantage.
The Blazers looked to get on the scoreboard in the fourth inning as runners moved to second and third on a sac bunt from sophomore Kayla Doherty (Plaistow, N.H.). Senior Kacey Gifford (Suffield, Conn.) lifted a one-out sac fly to left field, allowing freshman pinch runner Brenna Nelson (Millis. Mass.) to score from third, but Nelson was called out for leaving the base early, negating the run.
The Hawks struck again in the top of the fifth with an RBI single from Ciepiela, followed by sophomore Vasia Murphy (Dracut, Mass.) touching home on a misplayed ball on a sacrifice bunt from MacLean to extend the lead to 6-0. Becker put the game away in the top of the sixth as sophomore Megan Kiemanchuck (Pawtucket, R.I.) blooped an RBI single to centerfield, and then Murphy launched a three-run home run over the centerfield fence to send the Hawks to the 9-0 victory.
Becker junior Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn.) delivered a complete game shutout on the mound, holding the Blazers to three hits with four strikeouts.
Game 2: Elms 6, Becker 3
After two scoreless inning opened play, the Hawks cracked the scoreboard in the top of the third with a pair of sacrifice flies from junior Rebecca Carkhuff (Amherst, Mass.) and Lee to grab a 2-0 lead.
The Blazers responded in the bottom of the frame as sophomore Raeanna Tumel (Stafford, Conn.) and Catharine Wrang (Middletown, Conn.) knocked back-to-back singles, and then freshman Katelyn Sylvia (Southwick, Mass.) brought them both home with a two-run double to centerfield, knotting the game at 2-2.
Elms took control of the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth with Tumel and Wrang reaching on a single and fielder's choice, respectively, to open the inning. Messier dropped a sac bunt to advance the runners and the throw to first base sailed high, allowing Tumel to score from second, but Wrang was thrown out at home and Messier was tagged out at third to halt the Blazers rally. The Hawks pulled even at 3-3 in the top of the sixth as Carkhuff scored on a fielding error by Elms.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Blazers regained the lead behind a bases loaded RBI single from Tumel, and then Wrang laced a two-run single to centerfield, bringing home Olszewski and Doherty, to escort the Elms advantage to 6-3.
The Hawks rallied in the seventh, loading the bases with one out behind a pair of walks and a single from junior Jennifer Boxell (Marlborough, Mass.). Carkhuff lifted an RBI single to left field, followed by an RBI fielder's choice by Lee to trim the gap to 6-5. Kiemanchuck knocked an RBI single, and a throwing error on the play allowed Carkhuff to touch home as the game-winning run, giving Becker a 7-6 advantage. Lee entered the game in the bottom of the inning and recorded three straight outs to collect her first save of the season and seal the 7-6 win.
Olszewski and Wrang led the way at the dish with 2-for-4 games, while Wrang and Messier drove in two runs apiece. Tumel made the start in the circle, giving up six runs, five earned, on three hits with three strikeouts in a no-decision.
The Blazers will look to return to the win column when they travel to Wheelock College for an NECC doubleheader Saturday at Noon. Becker hosts Newbury in a conference twinbill Monday at 3:00 p.m.