BENNINGTON, Vt. – Solid hitting by the respective winning teams led to a series split between the Southern Vermont College and Daniel Webster College softball teams in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action at Willow Park on Saturday afternoon. DWC took the first game 9-4, and the Mountaineers then won the day-cap 8-6.
Southern Vermont starts the NECC season 1-1 after Saturday's divide (2-9 overall), and the Eagles now stand at 2-2 in league play (5-9 overall).
Game 1 – Daniel Webster 9, SVC 4
In Game 1, the Eagles were able to put up three runs in three separate innings, starting in the top of the second to grab the early lead. A single to right by sophomore shortstop Sarah Durocher (Keene, N.H.) scored senior center fielder Chelsea Crawford (Westfield, Mass.) who had reached base on an SVC error; Durocher advanced to second as the Mountaineers tried to throw out Crawford at the plate, putting her in scoring position with senior designated player Theresa DeSantis (Hinsdale, mass.) who had moved up to third. Both runners then came around as a throw down to third by SVC went into the outfield, giving the Eagles a 3-0 start.
The Mountaineers came back with one in the bottom of the frame with a single off the bat of freshman left fielder Katie Raymond (Bristol, Conn.) that plated sophomore pitcher Emily Fleming (Gansevoort, N.Y.) to make it a 3-1 contest. Southern Vermont then added another in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single to left by sophomore third baseman Kirstin Buchan (Colonie, N.Y.) to bring around freshman shortstop Julianna Burnley (Scotia, N.Y.) and close SVC to within one.
The Eagles were able to pad their lead in the top of the sixth with three more, however, as three consecutive one-run hits to the outfield with DWC ducks on the pond put the visitors up 6-2. Durocher scored her second run of the game when she was knocked in with a shot to right field by freshman second baseman Ashley England (Old Town, Maine). Daniel Webster would add more insurance with a three-run top of the seventh to go up 9-2 heading into the last box of the game.
Southern Vermont tried to manufacture a rally and worked two across the plate including pinch runner Sarah Kennedy (Medford, N.Y.) who was brought in with a single by sophomore first baseman Shelby Jones (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.). It would not be enough, however, as Daniel Webster freshman reliever Dallas Fonck (Enfield, Conn.) doused the Mountaineer momentum to wrap up the 9-4 victory.
Eagle freshman starter Sara Pelkey (Fitzwilliam, N.H.) brought home the win (2-2), allowing three runs, one earned, on six hits and two walks while striking out six in her six innings of work. Fleming took the loss (1-5) after giving up five earned on 12 hits and five walks; she struck out five on the day.
Jones was 1-2 with a walk and an RBI for SVC, and junior lead-off center fielder Erika Garay (Walnut, Calif.) went 2-4 with a run scored.
Pelkey went 3-3 with a walk, run scored, and run batted in on the offensive end for Daniel Webster, and senior right fielder Amanda Wilson (Merrimack, N.H.) was 3-4 with an RBI and run scored.
Game 2 – SVC 8, Daniel Webster 6
Daniel Webster came out to grab another quick lead in the day-cap with a run in the top of the first as England came in to score on a groundout to first by sophomore catcher Heather Strong (Palmer, Mass.).
That lead would not last long as the Mountaineers responded right away with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. After Garay led off with a single and promptly stole second, sophomore catcher Meagan Fleming (Gansevoort, N.Y.) ripped a double to the left center gap to bring the runner in.
The Eagles put up two runs in the top of the second to once again take the lead, scoring with a Pelkey double to right center and an ensuing single up the middle by Durocher.
Southern Vermont came right back with a crooked number in the bottom of the inning, scoring five runs to change the board to 6-3 in the Mountaineers' favor. After Raymond reached with a single and advanced to third on an Eagle throwing error, Garay brought her in on a single to center. SVC took advantage of DWC wild pitches as Kennedy scored on one to the backstop and Garay followed in the same manner. With a runner on, Meagan Fleming then caught a good piece, sending the ball over the center fielder's head into the deep, open outfield to give her enough time to round them all.
SVC starting right-hander Hayley McDonald (Latham, N.Y.) settled down in the circle through the next four as she kept the Eagles off the board, striking out five in that stretch including the side in the top of the fourth. She received defensive help top of the fifth when England tried to score from second on a single to center by Strong but was thrown out at the plate by Garay and a solid plate block by Meagan Fleming.
The Mountaineers added two more in the bottom half of that inning when Jones knocked in Meagan Fleming from third with her twin sister not far behind.
Daniel Webster refused to go home without a fight and put SVC on its heels in the top of the seventh. Pelkey started the inning with a double to left, and she was then brought in to score with a Durocher single. After Durocher moved to second on the Mountaineer throw to the plate, she rounded third and scored on a hit by freshman first baseman Danielle Melanson (Derry, N.H.) who went all the way to third on the throw in. Following an SVC timeout meeting in the circle, McDonald was able to strikeout England for the first out. However, junior third baseman Courtney Brennan (Beverly, Mass.) followed with a single to plate Melanson and trim the Southern Vermont lead to 8-6. That would be as close as the Eagles would get as McDonald retired the next two Daniel Webster batters on ground outs.
McDonald picks up her first win of the season (1-4) after striking out seven in as many innings of work. Fonck, who had started for the Eagles, takes the loss (0-3).
Meagan Fleming finished the game with a 4-4 performance including three RBIs and two runs scored with help from the homer. Emily Fleming and Garay were each 2-4 with a stolen base, Fleming scoring a run and Garay scoring two while knocking in another.
Pelkey and Durocher each went 2-3 in the game; Pelkey recorded two runs scored and an RBI, and Durocher knocked in the pair and scored one. Melanson was 1-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
The Mountaineers look to their Tuesday non-conference doubleheader at home against SUNY Cobleskill (3:30/5:30 p.m.), and Daniel Webster focuses on its Wednesday twin-bill at Pine Manor College (3/5 p.m.).