WESTON, Mass. - The Elms College softball team split a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) doubleheader with host Regis College at Regis Stadium Thursday evening. The Blazers (13-14, 10-4 NECC) posted a 1-0 shutout in the opener, and then fell to the Pride (14-10, 12-4 NECC), 3-2, in the nightcap.
The first game was a pitchers duel from the very start, with neither team threatening with any regularity offensively. The Pride's best chance came in a scoreless game in the bottom of the first, after sophomore Brianna Napoleone (Medford, Mass.) and Kelsey Grimard (Pelham, N.H.) led off the inning with back-to-back walks. After advancing to second and third on a ground out, the pair was left stranded after Tessa Cote (Granby, Mass.) struck out the next two Pride batters looking to escape the jam.
Still scoreless in the top of the fifth, Regis freshman pitcher Madi McLellan (Fremont, N.H.) found herself in the exact jam as Cote experienced in the first, as Blazer runners occupied second and third with just one out. Just as her counterpart had done four innings prior, McLellan struck out the next two Blazers to escape the jam unscathed and keep the game scoreless.
The Blazers finally broke the deadlock, and ended McLellan's shutout, with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. After the rookie retired the first two batters of the inning, sophomore Kayla Doherty (Plaistow, N.H.) singled through the left side. Freshman Katelyn Sylvia (Southwick, Mass.) followed up the base hit with a double to deep left to score Doherty and put Elms on the board with the only run support Cote would need.
Sophomore Allie Petillo (West Sayville, N.Y.) worked a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh to bring the game-winning run to the plate, but Lisa Lusardi (Enfield, Conn.) hit a laser right to first baseman Sylvia, who made the snag and doubled off Petillo for the game-ending, unassisted double play.
Cote allowed just three hits in the win to improve to 8-7 on the season, picking up seven strike outs in the shutout. McLellan's loss drops her record to 9-6 on year, as she allowed just the one earned run on nine hits on 110 pitches.
The Pride wasted no time getting on the board in game two, as they opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. After senior Jenna Casello (Westborough, Mass.) got hit by a pitch for the 12th time this season, tied for eighth in the nation, with one out, junior Amanda Navarro (Stoneham, Mass.) drove her home with a wall ball double to right center to make the score 1-0.
The Blazers got the run right back in the top of the second, as junior Elizabeth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.) sent a Lusardi pitch over the wall in centerfield for a solo shot to even the score. The home run was sixth of the season, moving her into a four-way tie for the conference lead.
The score was still 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth when pinch hitter Alexa Nejaime (Sandisfield, Mass.) drove in Grimard with a two-out RBI single, which Napoleone followed up with an RBI single of her own to make the score 3-1.
Both teams went down quietly in the fifth and sixth innings, before the Blazers threatened in their final at bat in the top of the seventh. With runners on first and second, Cote singled to left, scoring one run, but a nifty cut off from freshman first baseman Ellery Rasmussen (Kingston, N.H.) got Elms' Jeszy McGuire (Brimfield, Mass.) hung up between second and third, where she got caught in a run down before eventually getting tagged out by Grimard to end the ball game.
Lusardi got the win for the Pride in the circle, improving to 3-2 on the year after allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out a pair of Blazers. Cote earned the loss in game two, dropping to 8-8 on the season, allowing three runs, all earned, on nine hits over 4+ innings pitched while striking out two. Elms sophomore Raeanna Tumel (Stafford, Conn.) relieved Cote, throwing two perfect innings and striking out one.
Next up for the Pride, they will conclude their regular season by hosting the defending NECC champion Becker Hawks on Senior Day on Saturday. Elms will face Lesley on the road the same day when they next hit the diamond.
Source: (Regis College Athletics)