STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (11-21) defeated Norwich University (14-15), 9-4, in a preliminary game of the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Softball Tournament at Richard W. Bailey Field on Tuesday afternoon.
With the win, Saint Joseph's – the #3 seed in the North Division - advances to the double-elimination segment of the GNAC playoffs and will face #2N Suffolk University in a first-round matchup at Emmanuel College on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 PM.
For Norwich, the setback signals the end of the 2019 season as well as the collegiate softball careers of the Cadets' three seniors: Madison Miller (Patterson, Ga.), Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio), and Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.).
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Monks grabbed a 5-0 lead off four hits and a Norwich error in the bottom of the second, when junior left fielder Madisyn Charest (Sidney, Maine) knocked in junior Maizie Lee (Saco, Maine) with a single and scored, along with freshman catcher Bailey Rassol (Rehoboth, Mass.), on an Ashley Emery (Madison, Maine) base hit. Emery promptly scored on an infield error and senior shortstop Meghan Elliott (Mendon, Mass.) plated junior second baseman Libby Pomerleau (Limerick, Maine) with a two-out single.
The Cadets tightened the leash with three runs on one swing in the top of the fourth, when junior shortstop Makenna Wade (Saint Johns, Fla.) launched a no-doubter beyond the left field wall for her first home run of the season.
St. Joe's employed some small-ball tactics in the fifth to score two runs off three hits and a pair of Norwich miscues. Senior first baseman Melodie Bailey (Lebanon, Maine) led off with a walk, advanced to third following a Kaylee Burns (Saco, Maine) bunt single and throwing error, and scored on a Lee base hit. With runners on first and second and no outs, Rassol dropped down a bunt for a hit and Burns sprinted home as the result of another throwing error.
Trailing 7-3 through five frames, the Cadets cut their deficit to three runs when sophomore right fielder Brittany Vandergroef (Lodi, N.J.) lofted a sac fly to left field. Wade, who led off the inning with a walk, scored on the fly ball, which was hauled in with a nice running catch by senior Danielle Pinkham (Damariscotta, Maine).
The Monks managed to tack on a pair of runs off three hits in the bottom of the sixth, when Bailey tripled home Pomerleau and scored on a Lee base knock to account for the 9-4 final.
IN THE CIRCLE:
- SJC junior starter Kate Whitney (Jonesboro, Maine) improves to 6-10 on the season after allowing three runs off seven hits and a walk with a strikeout over four innings
- SJC junior Caitlyn King (Old Town, Maine) picked up her first save of the season after yielding an unearned run off three hits and a walk with one K in three frames
- Norwich starter Emily Oliver suffered the loss after giving up nine runs (five earned) off 12 hits and three walks with one punch-out in six innings
OFF THE BAT:
- Lee was 3-4 with a run and two RBI
- Emery went 2-3 with a run and a pair of RBI
- Bailey added a triple, two runs, and an RBI in four plate appearances
- For Norwich, Vandergroef, Kaylee Blanchard (Worcester, Mass.), and Katie Reid (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) notched two hits apiece and Wade was 1-2 with two runs and a three-run jack
With the win Saint Joseph's improves to 23-6 in the history of the series with Norwich University.