FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: May 6, 2018
CONTACT: Alan Wickström (617) 521-1036/alan.wickstrom@
GAILLARDETZ LEADS BAY PATH TO SWEEP OVER BECKER, 2-1, 3-2, TO CAPTURE NECC CHAMPIONSHIP
WESTON, Mass. – Sophomore pitcher Felicia Gaillardetz (Londonderry, N.H.) gave up just three runs to earn a pair of victories to lead the number three seed Bay Path University softball team to a sweep over second-seeded Becker College to capture its first-ever New England Collegiate Conference championship this afternoon at Regis Stadium on the campus of Regis (Mass.) in Weston, Mass. The Wildcats, who were playing out of the loser’s bracket, won the day’s first game, 2-1, in eight innings to force a final game and earned a 3-2 victory to win the NECC crown. Bay Path wins its fourth straight and seventh of its last eight to improve to 25-15 and receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament. The Hawks fall to 21-17 to end their season.
Gaillardetz allowed three runs on 13 hits and three walks and struck out five in 15 innings for the Wildcats to earn Tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Junior third base Katrina Peck (Newington, Conn.), who was named to the All-Tournament Team, paced the offense, going 3-7 with a double and two runs batted in for the day, while senior shortstop Lauren Vallee (Bristol, Conn.) was 3-6 with a double and two runs scored and also earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Junior center fielder Jai Ruiz (Hadley, Mass.) and first year left fielder Cameille Keith (Pawtucket, R.I.) each collected a pair of this and scored a run as well.
First year shortstop Sarah Ellis (Berkley, Mass.) and junior first base Samantha Belenchia (Asonia, Conn.) each registered three hits and a run batted in for Becker with Ellis scoring a run and Belenchia cracking a double. Ellis joined senior center fielder Rebecca Carkhuff (Amherst, Mass.) and senior starting pitcher Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn.) on the All-Tournament Team for BC.
Bay Path came into the double-elimination tournament’s final day with a loss, but forced the deciding game when it scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth with two outs in the day’s first game. Keith beat out a bunt single to the third base side with two outs to start the winning rally for the Wildcats. Sophomore catcher Lilly West (Goshen, Mass.) followed with a single to left field, before Peck ripped a single down the right field line to bring around Keith with the winning run for a 2-1 victory.
The Wildcats cracked the scoring column with a run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 edge. Vallee drew a full-count walk and Keith followed with a bunt single, before both runners advanced to scoring position on a passed ball. First year second base Kayla Vance (Clifton, N.J.) reached on a two-out infield error with Vallee scoring Bay Path’s first run.
The Hawks knotted the score with a run of their own in the top of the third inning. First year second base Alyssa Columb (Manchester, N.H.) reached on an infield single and later scored on a two-out single to left center off the bat of Ellis to make it 1-1.
Gaillardetz picked up the victory for the Wildcats, allowing just one run on five hits and two walks, while striking out three in eight complete innings. Lee suffered the loss for Becker, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk in addition to a walk in seven and two-thirds innings of work.
The Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first in the second game thanks to four straight one-out singles. Carkhuff and Ellis both stroked singles to left field, before Belenchia and Lee each followed with RBI base knocks to give Becker a two-run lead. Junior catcher Megan Klemanchuck (Pawtucket, R.I.) drew a walk to load the bases, but Gaillardetz induced consecutive pop-ups to end the damage.
The Wildcats got a run back in the bottom of the frame when Vallee led off with a single and later scored on a two-out single to right by Peck to cut the deficit to 2-1. Bay Path evened the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the third after Ruiz beat out an infield single and Vallee singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. Ruiz scampered home when Vallee got caught in an intentional run down between first and second on a steal attempt to tie the game.
The Wildcats took the lead with a single run in the fourth. Peck opened the frame with a double to right center field, moved to third on a single to right from Vance and later scored on a single to left center off the bat of junior right fielder Marissa Sarna-McCarthy (Westhampton, Mass.) to give Bay Path a 3-2 lead.
The Hawks looked to rally in the sixth when Klemanchuck laced a double down the right field line and later had to hold at second to make sure a single to center from junior left fielder Vasia Murphy (Dracut, Mass.) wasn’t caught. Both runners advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, but Gaillardetz got a ground ball to end the threat. Becker tried to get a rally going in the seventh as well after a leadoff single from Columb, but it was its final base runner of the game as Bay Path got the final three outs for its first championship.
Gaillardetz (16-6) earned the victory, yielding two runs on eight hits and a walk to go with a pair of strikeouts, while Lee (14-12) was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits and added five strikeouts.
Newbury College sophomore Mallory Stefan (Thornton, Colo.) and junior Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) were each named to the All-Tournament Team along with Lesley University sophomore Juliana Cecere (Revere, Mass.) and first year Riley Pickett (Rocky Hill, Conn.).