Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College softball team fell in a pair of New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) games against visiting Newbury College Sunday afternoon on Senior Day at Cheryl R. Condon Field. The Blazers wrapped up the regular season with a 13-18 record, and a 10-8 mark in the NECC, while the Nighthawks posted a 19-15 overall record with a 16-2 record in conference play.
Game 1: Newbury 2, Elms 1
With one out in the top of the first inning, Newbury sophomore Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) bashed a solo home run over the centerfield fence to hand the Nighthawks a 1-0 lead. After three scoreless frames, Newbury added an insurance run in the top of the fifth as senior Elizabeth Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii) knocked a two-out double, and then classmate Lindsey Clark (Venice, Fla.) brought home Kia with an RBI double into the right-centerfield gap, pushing the Nighthawks ahead 2-0.
The Blazers assembled a comeback attempt in the bottom of the seventh with freshman Katelyn Sylvia (Southwick, Mass.) lining a one-out double into centerfield, and then scoring on a fielding error by Newbury to trim the gap to 2-1. Sophomore Erin O'Donnell (Glenmont, N.Y.) reached on a fielder's choice, followed by a wild pitch, to put runners on second and third with two outs. Newbury freshman Mallory Stefan (Thornton, Colo.) quelled the threat by inducing a game-ending groundout to secure the 2-1 win.
Sylvia, senior Kacey Gifford (Suffield, Conn.) and sophomore Kayla Doherty (Plaistow, N.H.) knocked all three hits for the Blazers. Senior Tessa Cote (8-11; Granby, Mass.) was saddled with the loss in the circle, scattering two runs on six hits with two strikeouts.
Sass paced the Nighthawks, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Stefan (9-9) earned the win, allowing one unearned run on three hits with two strikeouts.
Game 2: Newbury 3, Elms 1
The Blazers were struck by déjà vu in the first inning of the night cap as Sass belted another solo home run, her eighth of the season, to stake the Nighthawks to a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the sixth inning, Newbury senior Naomi Ricciotti (Phoenix, Ariz.) laced a leadoff triple into the right-centerfield gap, and then scored on an RBI single from freshman Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.). Gooden moved around to third on a Blazers fielding error, and then raced home on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Tina Babcock (Ayer, Mass.) to expand the Nighthawks advantage to 3-0.
The Blazers attempt another late-inning comeback as Sylvia, junior Elizabeth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.) and sophomore Madison Messier (Warren, Mass.) loaded the bases with three straight singles in the bottom of the seventh. Gifford delivered an RBI groundout to bring home Sylvia, but Newbury sophomore Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.) fired a strikeout and forced a groundout to lock up the 3-1 win.
Cote (8-12) took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits in a complete game effort. Milauskas (10-7) surrendered one run on five hits with three strikeouts.
Following the contest, the Blazers honored their three departing seniors: Cote, Gifford, and Meg Shewchuk (Chicopee, Mass.).
The Blazers will be the six-seed in the NECC Championship Tournament and will travel to face third-seed Regis College in the Quarterfinals on Tuesday. Newbury earns the top-seed in the tournament and will host eighth-seeded Southern Vermont on Tuesday.