April 27, 2009

The Middlebury College softball team ended its season with a winning record for the sixth time in seven years as they closed out '09 with a 17-15 mark after a six-game week. Middlebury took the opening game 1-0 on a seventh inning, two-out walk-off hit against Rensselaer, and dropped the second game to the Red Hawks 7-4 on Wednesday.

A pitcher's duel combined with solid defense was the story through six innings of game one, as neither team could scratch a run across the plate. Red Hawk starter Sara Finkbeiner allowed base runners in every inning, except the third, but pitched out of each jam. Middlebury got runners to third base with less than two outs in the fifth and sixth, but could not score the go-ahead run.

Panther sophomore starter Ali McAnaney (Northbrook, Ill.) was equally strong through four innings before stepping aside for sophomore Geena Constantin (Pelham, N.H.) in the fifth. The Red Hawks had their best chance to score thwarted in the fifth by an impressive put-out at the plate by sophomore Emily Burbridge (E. Greenwich, R.I.). With two outs, Finkbeiner laced a triple to deep right field and tried to leg out an inside-the-park home run. Burbridge fielded the ball, threw to Constantin and relayed it to rookie catcher Alyson Downing (Rumney, N.H.), tagging out Finkbeiner at home, keeping the game scoreless.

In the bottom of the seventh, following a two-out double by senior Amelia Magistrali (Torrington, Conn.), Finkbeiner issued a pair of walks, loading the bases. Burbridge stepped to the plate and slapped an RBI single up the middle, plating Magistrali for the 1-0 win.

Constantin (6-4) picked up the win, pitching the final three innings allowing one hit and no runs. Finkbeiner (6-2) suffered only her second setback of the season, striking out five and allowing the lone run in the seventh.

In game two, the Red Hawk broke open a scoreless game in the fourth, plating four runs off first-year pitcher Ashley Higgins (Ridgefield, Conn.). An RBI double by Alysa Rochminski got things going, before Finkbeiner knocked in Rochminski for a 2-0 lead. With runners on first and third, a double-steal gave Rensselaer a 3-0 advantage, before Becky Bailey knocked in Finkbeiner with an RBI double and a 4-0 lead.

Trailing 5-0 in the sixth, RBI's by junior Kristin Maletsky (Kinnelon, N.J.), Downing and Constantin and a fielding error keyed the four run comeback for Middlebury. With one out, Constantin's single through the left side capped the scoring as Downing was cut down at third base. Rookie Kira Gordon's (Scarborough, Maine) line-out to short ended the threat, but the Panthers cut the Red Hawk lead to 5-4.

Rensselaer added a pair of runs off Middlebury reliever McAnaney in the seventh when Rochminski slammed a two RBI double to left field for a 7-4 lead. The Panthers threatened in the bottom of the inning with a two-out single by sophomore Megan Margel (Ridgewood, N.J.), but Red Hawk hurler Jen Bach struck out Burbridge, to end the game.

Burbridge and Margel each had a pair of hits for Middlebury, while sophomore Nellie Wood (Hampden, Maine) stole a pair of bases.

Higgins (2-4) suffered the loss for Middlebury, working the first five innings, allowing five earned runs. Constantin pitched the sixth, allowing just a walk, while McAnaney tossed the seventh, allowing two runs (one earned).

Middlebury dropped the opener to Plymouth State 6-2, but took the back-end of the twin bill 5-1 on Thursday.

In game one, Plymouth took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Andrea Pydynkowski, with runners on second and third, slapped a single to center for two RBI. Plymouth added a pair in the second for a 4-0 lead. With two outs, Allie Luisi's single plated Kay LaBrie from second base and later scored on a fielding error.

Plymouth scored a run in the fourth and fifth innings, both with two outs. An RBI single by Luisi in the fourth was followed by a home run to left field by LaBrie in the fifth for a 6-0 lead.

Middlebury got a pair back in the seventh. With one out, Margel smacked a double to right center and was immediately knocked in by a Burbridge double to left. Plymouth starter Courtney MacFarland was relieved by Sammi Romano. Romano enticed Constanin in a 1-3 ground out that advanced Burbridge to third. McAnaney plated Burbridge with an RBI single up the middle, cutting the Plymouth lead to 6-2. Senior Natalie Komrovsky (Independence, Ohio) pushed Burbridge to third on a double to left center. Romano stranded the two runners when pinch hitter Downing lined out to second, ending the comeback. Burbridge, Margel and Komrovsky each had a double for Middlebury, all in the seventh inning.

Game two saw Middlebury methodically build a five run lead through the first five innings. In the first inning, with runners on second and third and one out, Burbridge beat out an infield single, but Plymouth got the lead runner out at home on a 3-2 put-out. Plymouth believing the put-out at home was the third out, began to leave the field. During the confusion, sophomore Leslie Crawford (Mount Vernon, Wash.) raced home from second base for the 1-0 lead.

Middlebury scored two more in the third on RBI's by Margel and Burbridge for a 3-0 lead. They added another run in the fourth when McAnaney's ground out to second plated Constantin, who reached on an error to start the inning. Middlebury capped the scoring in the fifth when Burbridge knocked in Crawford from third on a grounder to first base.

Constantin, the starting pitcher for Middlebury, took the 5-0 lead into the seventh. After retiring the first two Plymouth batters, Constantin gave up the only extra-base hit of the game to Luisi, who doubled to center field. A throwing error got Heather Blase on base, allowing Luisi to advance to third. Luisi later scored on a Constantin wild pitch for Plymouth's lone run, as Jen Skilton's fly ball to left ended the game.

Magistrali and Crawford had a pair of singles for Middlebury, while Burbridge went 1-3 with two RBI. Constantin (7-4) was impressive in the circle, allowing four hits and one unearned run over seven innings, while striking out eight for the win.

Middlebury closed out its 2009 season with a pair of shutout victories over at Lyndon State College. The Panthers won the opener 9-0 in five innings, while taking the nightcap 7-0.

In game one, Constantin tossed a one-hitter to propel Middlebury to its 16th victory of the season. The sophomore right-hander went five strong innings, striking out six and walking two. Middlebury scored three runs in the third and fourth innings, gaining a 9-0 advantage with a pair in the fifth.

Crawford had three hits to lead the Panthers while Margel, Gordon and Wood chipped in two each. Sarah Fetterhoff took the loss for Lyndon, allowing eight earned runs on 13 hits while fanning two and walking two.

In game two, Higgins tossed a three-hitter over four and two-thirds innings, and McAnaney finished up with two and one-third innings of hitless relief as Middlebury coasted to a sweep of the twin bill. Higgins recorded four strikeouts without issuing a walk, while McAnaney fanned two and walked none.

Magistrali hammered out three hits for Middlebury while Margel, Wood, Burbridge and Komrovsky added two each.
. Softball final record: 17-15