DARTMOUTH, MA - Sophomore second baseman Reilly McMahon (South Windsor, CT) belted her third home run of the season and Annie Rosa (Washington, CT) had a run-scoring double to give the Western Connecticut State University a 2-0 lead, but the Colonials could not hold on as top seed and host University of Massachusetts Dartmouth came from behind to capture the Little East Conference Softball Championships opening game, 3-2. In the elimination game, the Colonials could not overcome a first inning grand slam home run and fell to second seed Plymouth State, 6-2, and were eliminated from the tournament, at UMD Softball Complex on Thursday.
Game One on Thursday:
In the opener, Maddie O'Gryzek delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly, which scored Averi Soares on, in the bottom half of the seventh inning as the Corsairs scored two runs in their final at bat to pull off the heartbreaker.
McMahon pounded a two-out pitch over the left-center-field wall to give WestConn a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Two innings later, Rosa found the gap in right-center field and drove in Erica Bower (Hillsborough, NJ), who preceded her with a one-out double to right field.
The Colonials gave senior starter Jaclyn Smith (Sandwich, MA) a 2-0 lead through four and one half innings. It took a lead-off line-drive single, in the bottom half of the fifth inning by Cierra Sheerin, to chase Smith from the center circle.
Angelina Miller (Holbrook, NY) came on, but gave up a run-scoring single by Leah Major, in her first inning of work, to knot the contest at 1-1.
With both clubs' relievers on the mound, Anna Kerwood and Miller swapped zeros over the next two and one half innings.
With one out in the final frame, Soares was hit by a pitch to put her and Sheerin on first and second base, respectively. Soares came around to score following a single by Major and an errant throw from Bower in right field. With the runners moved up one base when Bowers throw rolled to the backstop, Miller worked around Rachel Pereira. O'Gryzek then lofted the ball down the left field line, just deep enough to plate Soares with the game-winner.
Kerwood, who came on in the fifth inning for starter Jill Richards, earned the victory and is now 8-4 on the season. She allowed just a pair of singles over the final three innings and struck out two Colonials. Richards allowed two runs, struck out three and walked one in four innings of work.
Smith allowed one run on four hits before yielding to Miller. Miller allowed two runs, one of them earned, on three hits, struck out one and walked two. She is now 5-5 on the year.
The Corsairs, now 23-16, will take on the loser of today's third game, #3 Eastern Connecticut State University or #4 University of Southern Maine, on Friday at 10 am.
Game Two on Thursday:
Against the Panthers, designated hitter Madison Harris belted a first-inning grand slam home run and finished with five runs batted in to keep Plymouth State University alive. She went 2-for-3 and worked out a walk in the nightcap.
Lindsey Hall went 2-for-4 and drove in Plymouth State's other run on Thursday.
WestConn, which finishes the season at 19-18, was led by junior short stop Charlene Plasczynski (Bristol, CT) who went 1-for-3 and hit her sixth home run of the season, but she and her team could not get closer than the four-run deficit in the sixth inning.
Kayla Mathieu earned the victory and is now 8-6 on the season. In six innings from the center sphere, she allowed two runs, one of them earned, on five hits, struck out two and walked one.
Caitlyn Miller worked a scoreless seventh inning for the winners. She struck out one and walked one in relief.
WestConn starter Sara Tenke (Glen Cove, NY) was chased in the top of the first inning after giving up four runs, three of them earned on three hits, without recording an out. She finishes the year at 4-6.
The Colonials scored an unearned run in the bottom half of the fifth inning, but could only chisel out one more run in the sixth on Plasczynski's round tripper.