Image courtesy of
Adam Samrov/Bennington Banner
BENNINGTON, Vt. – Late-inning dramatics gave the visiting Newbury College softball team a 4-3 win over Southern Vermont College in the first game of a doubleheader at Willow Park in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action Saturday afternoon before the Nighthawks swept the day with a 12-1 Game 2 victory.
Newbury betters its conference record to 10-4 (16-15 overall) with the wins while Southern Vermont falls to 4-10 in NECC play and 5-18 overall with the pair of losses.
Newbury 4, SVC 3
Newbury grabbed the first lead of the game in the top of the second when cleanup hitter and freshman first baseman Michaela McGowan (Nashua, N.H.) hit a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence to lead off the inning. After an ensuing single, Mountaineer sophomore pitcher Emily Fleming (Gansevoort, N.Y.) was able to retire the next three batters and stop the Nighthawk momentum.
An NC error to lead off the bottom of the fourth proved costly as freshman shortstop Julianna Burnley (Scotia, N.Y.) would come around to score with a touch of small ball and a passed ball where she was able to slide in under the tag. Southern Vermont grabbed the lead in the following frame as a leadoff walk to junior right fielder Vanessa Ruelas (Paramount, Calif.) scored with another Mountaineer sacrifice bunt and RBI groundout by Fleming.
The Mountaineers held the marginal lead until the top of the seventh when Newbury scored three times to go back ahead. A free pass to Nighthawk freshman leadoff hitter Amber Rapchun (Corona, Calif.) was moved over with a sac bunt, and then scored on a single by freshman left fielder Tory Hoemke (Wilton, N.H.) for the tying run. NC followed with two more singles and a sacrifice fly by freshman catcher Alyssa Donovan (West Haven, Conn.) to score two more and go up 4-2.
Southern Vermont trimmed the Newbury lead in its final effort as another leadoff walk would score on an RBI single by sophomore catcher Shelby Jones (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.). The Mountaineers loaded the bases with a hit batter, but Nighthawk senior right-hander Rebecca Roach (Charlton, Mass.) got sophomore third baseman Brianne Nichols (Colonie, N.Y.) to pop up to the infield to secure the win.
Roach improves her record from the circle to 8-7 while Fleming suffers the loss (2-10) despite recording 26-of-32 first-pitch strikes. Roach allowed just two earned runs on seven hits and four walks, striking out seven in the effort.
Jones finished the game 3-3 with the RBI, and Fleming went 1-3 with a walk and run batted in.
Rapchun and McGowan were each 2-3 at the plate for Newbury with a run scored while McGowan added the RBI and a walk. Hoemke was also 1-3 adding a run scored and another knocked in.
Newbury 12, SVC 1
The Nighthawks carried their offensive momentum into the second game as they put up three runs in the opening box, scoring first with a bases-loaded walk to McGowen. Donovan later scored with a sacrifice fly by Rapchun to go ahead 3-0. Southern Vermont got one back in the bottom of the inning with a first-and-third delayed steal that scored junior center fielder Erika Garay (Walnut, Calif.) on the throw down to second. That would be all the Mountaineers would manage, however, as Newbury continued to pull away.
A four-run sixth for the Nighthawks would seal the deal, including a round tripper by Rapchun and an inside-the-park home run by freshman center fielder Sheri Liggiero (Tewksbury, Mass.) on an 0-2 pitch down the left field line past the Mountaineer defense.
McGovern picked up the win (8-8) in the circle for Newbury after settling in and throwing 22-of-28 first-pitch strikes; she allowed the solo earned run on six hits and two walks, matching a season-high in strikeouts of nine. Sophomore Mountaineer right-hander Hayley McDonald (Latham, N.Y.) struck out seven Nighthawks while taking the loss (3-8).
Fleming went 2-3 at the plate while Jones was 1-2 with a walk.
Donovan and junior shortstop Katie Haney (Winchendon, Mass.) were each 3-5 with the latter scoring two runs and batting in another pair. Rapchun finished 2-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. All nine Nighthawks recorded a hit as the team totaled 15 in the day-cap.
The Mountaineers continue the home stand with a Tuesday matchup against SUNY Cobleskill starting at 3:30 p.m., and Newbury looks to its Saturday NECC doubleheader at Elms College, slated to start at 12 p.m.