STANDISH, ME – Saint Joseph's (29-5, 22-2 GNAC) took two from Saint Joseph (Conn.) (17-21, 12-14 GNAC), winning the opener 2-0 and completing the sweep with an 8-0 mercy-rule triumph in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) softball action at Richard W. Bailey Field on Saturday afternoon. Sophomore pitcher Theresa Hendrix (Scarborough, Maine/Cheverus) tossed a perfect game and fanned three batters in the first contest.
Making her third career start in the circle, Hendrix required only 68 pitches win what was the first seven-inning perfect game in SJC softball program history. The first-year hurler threw 71% (48/68) of her pitches for strikes and saw just a pair of three-ball counts in the impressive performance, which included 12 ground-outs and six fly-outs.
"I honestly didn't even think about it until somebody told me after the game," added Hendrix when asked if she was nervous heading into the final innings. "I had incredible fielding behind me and I felt confident the entire game. I couldn't have done this without my fielders."
Although the glove work was sound behind her, Hendrix did not require outstanding defensive plays to sit 21 consecutive Blue Jays batters. One of the better plays occurred in the top of the second when freshman second baseman Sarah Miller (Southington, Conn.) hit a groundball up the middle, but Monks second sacker Connie Grovo (Limington, Maine) made a backhand stab to knock the ball down and threw out the runner at first. St. Joe's third baseman Kim Jordan (Bangor, Maine) also made several nice plays, including a throw off a slap attempt by Saint Joseph (Conn.) leadoff hitter Nicole Williams (Middletown, Conn.), who slid headfirst into first base but was thrown out by a whisker in the top of the seventh.
Hendrix almost lost her perfect-game bid in the sixth inning when she nearly plunked freshman catcher Ashley Stokes (Middletown, Conn.), the first batter of the frame, with an errant fastball. Luckily, the up and in pitch grazed the knob of the bat for a foul ball and Stokes flew out to center three pitches later.
Offense was in short supply for both clubs in the opener but - as it played out - the Monks would score the only run they would require in the bottom of the second. Sophomore shortstop Lindsay Moore (Barrington, N.H.) drove a two-strike offering from Blue Jays hurler Kristina Torres (Groton, Conn.) to left-center for a double and advanced to third two batters later when senior Maria Labbe (Lewiston, Maine) reached via fielder's choice. Moore, the only repeat-hitter for either team in the opener, sprinted home when the following hitter, first baseman Maddie Kluna (Standish, Maine), also reached first base on a fielder's choice.
St. Joe's would tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth when Moore, who led off the frame with a triple to right-center, crossed the plate on a Labbe sacrifice fly to center field.
Torres was the hard-luck loser for the Blue Jays, as the senior pitcher allowed two runs off five hits and a pair of free passes in the 2-0 setback.
The closing contest looked to be another pitcher's duel as the conference counterparts combined for just five hits over the first three-and-a-half innings. The Monks scored single runs in the first and second innings to secure a 2-0 edge. Senior center fielder Emily Leverone (Hampton, N.H.) plated Danyelle Shufelt (Sutton, Vt.) with a ground-out to second in the first and Labbe drove in Hendrix with a sac fly in the second.
Saint Joseph's proceeded to break the game open with five runs off three hits and a Blue Jays' miscue in the bottom of the fourth inning. Labbe continued to swing the hot bat and drove in a pair with a bases-loaded single, Kluna plated a run with a fielder's choice, and Grovo doubled home Jordan to make it a 7-0 game in favor of the hosts through four complete frames.
The Monks went on to secure the mercy-rule victory when Labbe singled with two out in the fifth inning, scoring Moore to account for the 8-0 final.
Kluna was solid in the circle for the Monks, scattering four hits with three strikeouts over five innings, and improves to 9-3 on the year with the winning decision. Saint Joseph (Conn.) starter Emily Hummel (Hebron, Conn.) was hit with the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned) off seven hits and a pair of walks in four innings of work. Colleen Ecsedy (Ashford, Conn.) yielded a run off three hits in 2/3 inning of relief for the visitors.
Labbe paced the Monks' offensive effort, having gone 2-2 with a run and four RBI in the victory, and Tripp was a perfect 3-3 on the afternoon. Grovo, Moore and Hendrix all rapped doubles in the nightcap.
Hummel, 2-2 with a double, was the lone repeat-hitter for the Blue Jays in a losing effort.
With the sweep, Saint Joseph's improves to 7-3 in the history of the series with Saint Joseph College (Conn.). Prior to this afternoon the Monks and Blue Jays had split three of four doubleheaders, including the two-game set last spring.
Saint Joseph's hosts Norwich University in a GNAC twinbill beginning at 1:00 PM on Sunday.
Saint Joseph's College, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, celebrates its Centennial year in 2012 with a theme of "Realize the Promise" – honoring our commitment to educating well-rounded graduates who combine career focus with classic liberal arts studies. A Private, Catholic, primarily residential, coeducational liberal arts institution, Saint Joseph's welcomes students of all ages and all faiths. The campus, located 18 miles northwest of Portland and just two hours from Boston, encompasses 350 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. Enrollment ranges between 1,000 and 1,100 students annually. Saint Joseph's offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing and business fields in a value-centered environment.