Courtesy Tufts Sports Information
MEDFORD, Mass. - The Tufts University Jumbos (38-1) won the 2009 NESCAC Softball Championship after defeating the Wesleyan University Cardinals (17-20), 8-2, on Sunday morning at Spicer Field. The Jumbos, who earn their 11th berth into the NCAA Tournament with the conference's automatic bid, have won three straight league titles and six overall.
The Cardinals jumped ahead in the first by putting across two runs, taking advantage of two walks surrendered by Tufts senior starting pitcher Lauren Gelmetti (Westfield, N.J.). Cardinals sophomore 1B Talia Bernstein (Miami, Fla.) doubled home the first Cardinal run and later in the inning first-year CF Chrissy Bello (Upper Brookville, N.Y.) singled in Bernstein. In the bottom of the first, Tufts began with four straight singles from senior CF Laura Chapman (Seattle, Wash.), senior DP Alison Drobiarz (Old Saybrook, Conn.), senior 2B Danielle Lopez (Danvers, Mass.) and junior 1B Christy Tinker (Woodbridge, Conn.). Due to two base-running mistakes, the Jumbos had to settle for just one run on an RBI single by Lopez, and Tufts left two runners on.
With the score 2-1 in favor of Wesleyan in the bottom of the second, Tufts put their first two batters on base with a lead-off double by junior SS Casey Sullivan (Berlin, Conn.), followed by an RBI single from senior LF Roni Herbst (Montclair, N.J.). Senior 3B Sam Kuhles (Somerville, N.J.) then sacrificed Herbst to second base, which allowed Herbst to score on a two-out throwing error by the Cardinals. Wesleyan left two runners on base in the third, while Tufts took advantage of another opportunity in the bottom half by plating three more runs on five hits to take a 6-2 lead. Sullivan, Herbst and Kuhles each drove in a run in the inning.
The score stayed at 6-2 until the bottom of the fifth where Tufts added a single run on an RBI groundout by Lopez. In the sixth, the Jumbos put the lead-off batter on base for the sixth consecutive inning when senior RF Maya Ripecky (Chicago, Ill.) doubled and she later scored on Sullivan's one-out single, her third hit of the game. With two on and one out, Kuhles lined a screamer to second base which was caught and Sullivan was doubled off at third to end the frame.
The Jumbos held a six-run lead at 8-2 going into the seventh where sophomore pitcher Izzie Santone (Madison, Conn.), in for her third inning of relief, got the Cardinals to go down in order to earn the save and the championship for her team. Gelmetti (17-0) picked up her second win of the tournament, pitching the first four innings allowing two runs on four hits. Santone went the final three, surrendering three hits.
Chapman did her job at the top of the order again for the Jumbos as she reached base in three of her four plate appearances. The middle of the order did their job as well, with Lopez driving in two runs and Tinker finishing with three hits from her clean-up position. The bottom-third of the order contributed the most, as Sullivan, Herbst and Kuhles combined for eight hits, four runs scored and five runs batted in.
Wesleyan starting pitcher Chelsea Swete (Glenmont, N.Y.) fell to 4-11 on the year, going two innings and giving up three runs on six hits. Wesleyan's Bernstein was 3 for 4 on the day with a double, two singles and a run batted in. The rest of her team could only amass four other hits, all singles.
Day 3 - Sunday, May 3 at Tufts
Game 6 - E1 Tufts 8, vs. W1 Wesleyan 2