Nashua, NH – In the first losers bracket elimination game of the day, it was the second seeded Monks of St. Joseph's College-Maine who grabbed the victory and sent the 8th seeded Norwich University Cadets home with a score of 14-5 in 5 innings. The Cadets committed 7 errors on the day, allowing 9 unearned runs to cross the plate, which was more than enough support for starting pitcher Kiera Walsh (Benton, ME) to go the distance and pick up the win for the Monks.
St. Joseph's got thing going in the top of the first inning when leadoff hitter Anna Willis (Gorham, ME) reached first and was awarded second on a throwing error by Norwich third baseman Whitney Grennon (Franklin, VT). Starting pitcher Mackenzie Pratt (Hyde Park, VT) made quick work of the next two batter as she struck out one and induced a groundball back to herself for the second out, but Monks cleanup hitter Liddy van der Linden (Worcester, MA) swung for the fences and connected for a homerun to plate two runs and give the monks the early 2-0 advantage.
The second inning didn't get any better for the Cadets as two errors by shortstop Christine Clark (Weymouth, MA), accompanied by a walk and 3 hits brought five more Monk runs across the plate for the 7-0 lead after two. The Monks would add two more runs in the top of the third on two more Cadet errors to push the lead to 9-0. The Cadets responded in the bottom of the third with 4 runs of their own to cut the lead to 9-4. First baseman Kelsey Buker (Morrisville, VT) got on with a walk to start the inning and center fielder Seana Ellsworth (Everett, MA) drove her to third with a double. After another walk, the bases were loaded for catcher Marley Balasco (Barrington, RI), who connected for a single to plate the cadets first run. With the bases still loaded, second baseman Lindsay Carey (Colchester, VT) hit a groundball to first base where Alyssa Dunn (Standish, ME) fired home to get the force out, but in trying to turn the double play back to first, catcher Ellen Neff (Chester, VT) threw the ball away and allowed 2 more runs to score and Carey to end up on third. The Cadets would add run number four on a double by designated hitter Jessalyn Sweeney (Stanfordville, NY).
The Monks wasted no time in getting those runs back as Norwich brought in Buker from first base to be the new pitcher in the top of the fourth inning and the Monks jumped all over her from the start. A single, 2 walks and a hit batter to start things off brought home the first run of the inning, followed by two singles to plate the other three which brought St. Joseph's lead back to 9 runs heading into the fifth inning. Each team would plate one run in the fifth inning and the game would end with St. Joseph's on top 14-5.
Neff and van der Linden both went 3 for 4 for a combined 5 RBI's for the Monks while right fielder Danyelle Shufelt (Sutton, VT) went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI's of her own. Pitcher Kiera Walsh went all five innings, striking out 2, surrendering 5 hits and 4 walks and 2 earned runs.
Designated hitter Jessalyn Sweeney was the only Cadet to get multiple hits in the game with a 2 for 3 effort with 1 RBI, but center fielder Seana Ellsworth did go 1 for 1 with a sacrifice fly and one RBI. Starting pitcher Mackenzie Pratt took the loss, despite not giving up a single earned run on the day. She allowed 6 hits and 1 walk along with 2 strikeouts in her three innings of work.
Norwich ends their season with a 13-24 overall record and a 9-15 GNAC conference record, while St. Joseph's improves to 29-9 overall. St. Joseph's will take on the winner of game 8 between Simmons College and St. Joseph College of Connecticut, who play at 12:00 PM, today at 4:00 PM. The winner of that game will move on to the semifinals on the losers bracket side of the tournament on Sunday morning at 10:00 AM.
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