Softball Wins Twice, Headed To NESCAC Title Game

May 5, 2012

The Middlebury softball team advanced to the NESCAC Championship for the second straight year with a pair of wins on Saturday. The Panthers will defend their crown against Tufts, who defeated them 2-0 in eight innings on Friday, on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. A Middlebury victory would lead to a second game immediately following.

Middlebury starter Alexa Lesenskyj tossed 4.2 strong innings, outdueling sophomore counterpart Melissa DellaTorre in the Panthers’ 4-1 elimination game victory over Bowdoin.

Lesenskyj surrendered just one run on two hits, while striking out six to improve to 9-7, while Elizabeth Morris logged 2.1 shutout innings in relief, allowing just two hits with three strikeouts. DellaTorre went the distance in the loss, giving up four runs on nine hits, while fanning eight batters.

Emily Kraytenberg led the Panther attack, going 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Emma Katz finished 1-3 with an RBI. Christina Bicks added a pair of base-knocks, while Kimber Sable, Jessa Hoffman, Sarah Boylan and Alex Scibetta each recorded a hit.

Toni DaCampo drove in Bowdoin’s lone run, while Caroline Dewar, Casey Correa and Hanna Wurgaft each went 1-3.

Hoping to get the Panthers off to a fast start in the bottom of the first, Hoffman laced a double down the left field line before advancing to third on an errant relay throw from the outfield. With two outs, Kraytenberg came through with a clutch hit, slapping a single to right that pushed across the game’s first run.

With Middlebury tacking on another score in the top of the fourth on a Katz RBI single to left, Bowdoin looked to finally get something going against Lesenskyj, who had retired seven-straight and nine of the first 10 batters she faced.

Legging out a bunt single back to the mound, Dewar spoiled the Panther starter’s no-hit bid before stealing second. Following a Gen Barlow strikeout, DaCampo ripped a double to the base of the left centerfield wall to bring around the Polar Bears’ first run. Amy Hackett then drew a walk to once again put two aboard, but Lesenskyj bore down, getting Correa to pop-out to third and Wurgaft to foul-out to first to escape any further damage.

Down 4-1 after Middlebury added two more runs on Kraytenberg’s bases loaded single through the left side in the top of the seventh, Bowdoin put two aboard on consecutive Correa and Wurgaft base-knocks with one out. After Courtney Colantuno grounded out to third for the second out of the inning, the Polar Bears had one final chance with Victoria Rusch coming to the plate, representing the tying run, but Morris shut the door, getting the first-year to weakly tap a comebacker to the mound to end the game.

In their second game of the day, Morris pitched all seven innings, allowing just one run to lead Middlebury to a 2-1 victory over host Amherst. Surrendering just six hits with three strikeouts, Morris improved to 8-3 on the year, while Amherst starter Arielle Doering dropped to 11-2 after giving up two runs on a pair of hits in 2.2 innings.

The Jeffs’ Carolyn Miller and Idalia Friedson each recorded a pair of hits, while Jessica Poracky paced the Middlebury lineup, going 2-3 with two RBI. Katz chipped in with a pair of base-knocks, while Hoffman registered the Panthers’ only other hit.

Handed an early 1-0 lead with Poracky’s RBI single back up the middle in the bottom of the first, Morris retired six of the next eight batters she faced to protect the Panthers’ margin through three.

Putting a runner aboard on a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the third, Middlebury looked to add to its tally, moving the go-ahead run into scoring position on a Kraytenberg ground out to short. Needing a big two-out hit, Poracky again delivered, singling back up the middle to double the Panther lead heading into the top of the fourth.

Hoping to jumpstart the Amherst offense, Leet led off the frame with a single to center. After Horan popped out on a bunt toward first, Miller ripped a double into the left centerfield gap, bringing in a hustling Leet for the Jeffs’ first run. Looking to limit the damage, Morris got Dudzik and Kelley to ground out to third, ending the Amherst threat.

Still up 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Morris quickly recorded a pair of outs before surrendering a Friedson single to center to give the Jeffs life. Ayers then reached on a bobbled throw at first to put the tying run in scoring position, but Middlebury’s sophomore hurler regrouped, getting Silkowitz to tap a slow comebacker to the mound to end the game.

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