Shorewomen Will Play for Conference Championship Tomorrow
ALLENTOWN, PA -- The Washington College softball team entered the 2013 Centennial Conference Softball Tournament as the fourth and final seed in the double-elimination field, but, after the first day of the tournament, is the only team remaining without a loss. Washington (25-16) knocked off top seed Muhlenberg (31-8-1), 3-2, in the Shorewomen's first game of the day before downing Haverford (24-12), 4-2, in a winners' bracket game that advanced the Shorewomen to tomorrow afternoon's championship round. The Shorewomen (25-16) will play the winner of tomorrow morning's Haverford-Muhlenberg elimination game at noon. If Washington wins that game, it will secure its first ever Centennial Conference Softball Championship. A loss would set up a "winner-take-all" seventh game of the tournament for the conference title at 2:00 p.m.
In the Shorewomen's first game of the tournament, Muhlenberg took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Trifiolis and an RBI single by Colleen O'Donnell. The score remained 2-0 until Washington got three runs across in the top of the fifth to take the lead. A bunt single by junior Claire Mattox (Arlington, VA/Potomac School) wound up plating freshman Clare Hofstedt (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park) all the way from first due to an errant throw. Mattox then scored on a double to left center by freshman Paige Briganti (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park) to even the score at 2-2. Briganti advanced to third on the play via a throwing error. Senior Lindsey Glascock (Glenwood, MD/Glenelg) followed by driving in Briganti for what would prove to be the game-winning run with an RBI ground out.
In the bottom of the fifth, Muhlenberg got runners on first and second with one out before sophomore Kristin Cooper (Georgetown, DE/Sussex Central) came in to relieve sophomore Christine Anderson (Palmer Lake, CO/Lewis-Palmer), Washington's starting pitcher. Cooper got Taylor Trifiolis to hit into an unusual fielder's choice as a ball that landed just into the outfield was retrieved by Briganti who threw to third base to get Kelly Kline out. O'Donnell then fouled out to end the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Muhlenberg had the tying run on third before Alyssa Schell flied out to left field to end the inning.
The Shorewomen nearly added another run in the top of the seventh but Mattox, who was attempting to score from second on an infield single by junior Lauren Dockrill (San Diego, CA/Catherdal Catholic), was thrown out at the plate by Kline. Erica Wenzel popped up to Dockrill to open the bottom of the seventh before Kline walked for the third time in the game to get the potential tying run aboard. Brittany Dzieciolowski then fouled out for Muhlenberg's second out, but Trifiolis walked to represent the potential game-winning run. Cooper got out of another jam, however, by getting O'Donnell to pop up to senior Shaelan Nottingham (Ocean City, MD/Stephen Decatur) at second base to end the game.
Hofstedt and Mattox provided offense from the bottom of the Shorewomen's line-up as the eighth and ninth hitters, respectively, each went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the game. Anderson got the win in the circle, going four and one-third innings and allowing the two Muhlenberg runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three batters. Cooper picked up an eight-out save, allowing no runs on one hit and two walks with one strikeout.
Devon Barber was the only Mule with multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-3. Kelsey Jones took the loss for Muhlenberg, allowing three runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out four batters in seven innings of work.
Against Haverford, the Shorewomen took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when junior Kylie Nottingham (Ocean City, MD/Stephen Decatur) hit a one-out triple to right field and then scored on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Jaclyn Jayo (Peoria, AZ/Liberty). Haverford evened the score in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Jen DiCandilo. The Shorewomen regained the lead for good in the top of the sixth as Nottingham was hit by a pitch with two outs and then scored on an RBI double to right center by Jayo.
Washington added a pair of insurance runs in the top of seventh on a no-out RBI double to right center by Cooper and a two-out RBI double to left field by Briganti. The Fords got their second run on an RBI bunt single by Sarah Brody in the bottom of the seventh as she drove in Jill Schnall, who hit a one-out double. Elizabeth Newman, who had singled after Schnall's double, advanced to third on the play. Brody then stole second to put the potential game-tying run in scoring position for the Fords, but Cooper got DiCandilo to foul out to first base and then got Dayle Comerford to ground out to end the game.
Seven different Shorewomen had exactly one hit in the win over Haverford as Jayo's two RBI and Nottingham's two runs scored led the offense. Cooper went the distance to pick up the win (her school-record 12th of the season), allowing two runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out five batters. Emily Winesett took the loss for the Fords, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out three batters in six and two-third innings. Newman reached base for times for Haverford, going 2-for-2 with two walks. Lauren Touey also had a pair of hits for the Fords.
Washington's win over Haverford completed an opening day of the tournament that saw the lower-seeded team win three of the four games and saw the defending conference champions eliminated. Haverford, the tournament's third seed, rallied to beat McDaniel, the two seed and 2012 champions, 3-2, in eight innings in the first game of the day. Muhlenberg then eliminated McDaniel with a 4-0 win in the losers' bracket elimination game.
The win over Muhlenberg was the Shorewomen's first in their first game of a conference tournament in four all-time tournament appearances. Washington, which bounced back after losing its tournament opener last year to play McDaniel in the championship round, is now 4-1 in its last five Centennial Conference Tournament games after losing its first five tournament games.