ALLENTOWN, PA -- Just a year removed from its first-ever win in a conference tournament game, the Washington College softball team captured its first-ever conference championship by defeating Haverford College, 9-0, in five innings in the Centennial Conference Tournament championship game Sunday afternoon at Cedar Creek Field in Allentown, PA. With the win, the Shorewomen (26-17) claim the conference's automatic bid and the school's first-ever bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Shorewomen blew open the championship game with an eight-run second inning, scoring seven of those runs with two outs in the frame. Sophomore pitcher Kristin Cooper (Georgetown, DE/Sussex Central) started the barrage with a one-out double and later came around to score on a single by junior Claire Mattox (Arlington, VA/Potomac School). A bases-loaded, two-out, walk by junior Kylie Nottingham (Ocean City, MD/Stephen Decatur) brought freshman Clare Hofstedt (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park) across the plate for Washington's second run. Freshman Jaclyn Jayo (Peoria, AZ/Liberty) then hit a bases-clearing three-run double to center to push the lead to 5-0. Jayo scored on a double by junior Lauren Dockrill (San Diego, CA/Catherdal Catholic) and Dockrill scored on an RBI single by sophomore Suzanne Patinella (Fallston, MD/Maryvale Prep) to push the lead to 7-0. Patinella came around to score two batters later on a throwing error to complete the eight-run, seven-hit inning.
Washington tacked on its ninth run in the bottom of the third inning as Nottingham drove in freshman Paige Briganti (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park) with an RBI single to left field. That gave Nottingham 84 RBI in her career, breaking the school record of 83 set by Diane Green from 2003-06. It was also her 34th RBI of the season, breaking the single-season mark she set in 2011 and Cooper matched in 2012.
Cooper got the win for Washington allowing just three hits and no walks while striking out five batters in the five-inning shutout. Jayo, Dockrill, and Cooper each had two hits in the victory. Eight different Shorewomen scored at least one run in the game with Briganti crossing the plate twice.
Haverford (26-13), which won a Sunday morning elimination game against Muhlenberg, 7-1, to advance to the championship round, forced just the second seventh game of a Centennial Conference Softball Tournament in the tournament's history with a 3-1 win over the Shorewomen, who went 2-0 during the first day of the tournament, earlier this afternoon.
In the Fords' 3-1 win over Washington in the sixth game of the tournament, Haverford broke a scoreless tie when Kristin Tatum drove in Lauren Touey with a two-out RBI double in the top of the second inning. Tatum then drove in Touey again with two outs, this time with an RBI single in the top of the fourth to give Haverford a 2-0 advantage. Washington, which left the bases loaded in each of the first two innings, finally got on the board on an RBI single by Hofstedt with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Hofstedt drove in freshman Jennifer Hanner (Lancaster, PA/Penn Manor), who pinch ran for Patinella after Patinella led off the inning with a double. Washington got one runner on in the bottom of the seventh, but could get no closer as the Fords held on to force the decisive seventh game of the tournament.
Touey and Tatum were the only players for either team with multiple hits in the first game between the Shorewomen and Fords. Sara Tauriello got the win for Haverford, allowing one run on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in five and one-third innings. Emily Winesett pitched a five-out save without allowing a hit or walk. Sophomore Christine Anderson (Palmer Lake, CO/Lewis-Palmer) took the loss for Washington, allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out nine batters.
Today's conference championship by the softball team represents the third conference title won by a Washington College team this spring as both the men's and women's rowing teams won the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference. It is the first Centennial Conference Championship for a Washington College team since the men's tennis team won the conference in 2006.
The Washington College softball team has had quite a meteoric rise to the national stage as the Shorewomen had reached the conference tournament just once prior to 2011 and had not won a conference tournament game before last season. The program's first conference title comes in head coach Lacey Lister's fifth season. Lister was named the Centennial Conference' Coach of the Year in both 2011 and 2012. Washington's 26 wins thus far this season are five more than in any other season in school history.
NCAA Division III Tournament begins with eight regional
double-elimination tournaments at pre-determined sites. Seven of those
eight regionals will have eight teams, the eighth will have six. The
eight-team regionals will be held Thursday, May 9th through Monday, May
13th. The six-team regional runs May 10th through the 13th. The
Shorewomen will learn which regional they are assigned to tomorrow.