BOSTON, Mass. – The Simmons University softball team saw every member of its starting line-up reach base via a hit or walk in a 5-3 victory over Saint Joseph's College (Maine) this afternoon to stay alive in an elimination game of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament played at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks improve to 21-22 on the season, while the Monks finish their season at 13-23. Simmons advances to play Emmanuel College (Mass.) in the loser's bracket final at 3:00 p.m.
Four different players knocked in a run for Simmons, including first year third base Alex Morang (Windham, Maine), who finished the game going 2-3 with a walk and a run batted in. Senior first base Dom Ortiz (Lawrence, Mass.) and first year catcher Shannon McMahon (El Cajon, Calif.) each went 1-3 with a walk and an RBI, while sophomore second base Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) drove in a run and scored in four at-bats. Sophomore left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.) was 2-3 with a walk.
Junior Madisyn Charest (Sidney Maine) led all players with three hits and also scored a run for Saint Joseph's, while senior first base Melodie Bailey (Lebanon, Maine) was 1-4 with two runs batted in. First year pinch-hitter Camryn LaPierre (Westbrook, Maine) came through with a run-scoring single in her only plate appearance.
The Sharks set the tone early, opening with back-to-back base-hits by junior center fielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) and Vann. Two batters later with runners at the corners, Ortiz lined a single into center field to bring in Del Vacchio with the game's first run. Santoro reached on a fielder's choice to keep runners on the corners with first year Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.) on third. Santoro intentionally got caught in a run-down on an attempted steal of second and escaped being tagged out long enough for Castigliego to score from third to make it 2-0.
SJC cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame. Junior Libby Pomerleau (Limerick, Maine) began the inning with a lead-off single through the left side, advanced to second on a bunt and took third on a wild pitch. Pomerleau came in to score on a Bailey ground out to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
The Sharks went through the lineup in the top of the third and added three runs to take a comfortable 5-1 lead. Castigliego beat out an infield chopper to shortstop, then advanced to second following a free pass to Ortiz. With sophomore Emily Barbella (Littleton, Mass.) pinch-running at first for Ortiz, Santoro lined an RBI single to left, before McMahon followed with a base-hit to right to plate Barbella and end the day for the Monks starting pitcher. Morang greeted the new Saint Joseph's hurler with a single to right to bring in Santoro with the fifth Sharks run. SJC reliever Caitlyn King (Old Town, Maine) settled down with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
Following three scoreless frames, the Monks rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Charest began the frame with a base-hit back through the box and managed to get herself into scoring position on a wild pitch. Two batters later, LaPierre ripped a single into center to plate Charest with the second Monks run. Senior Meghan Elliott (Mendon, Mass.) later laced a two-out single to left to knock the Simmons pitcher out of the game and Bailey registered the fourth hit of the inning with a single into center to bring home first-year Ashley Emery (Madison, Maine), who re-entered to run for LaPierre, to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Sophomore reliever Hailey Yabroudy (Amherst, N.H.) allowed just one more hit the rest of the way to earn her first collegiate save in two and a third innings of scoreless relief, giving up just two hits and a walk to go with a pair of strikeouts. Castigliego (13-6) picked up the victory, yielding three runs (two earned) on six hits in four and two-thirds innings and fanned a pair of batters.
Junior starting pitcher Kate Whitney (Jonesboro, Maine) (7-11) was tagged with the loss after giving up five runs on six hits and three walks in two and a third innings and also struck out a batter.