BENNINGTON, Vt. – Backed by a pair of tremendous pitching performances by sophomore Kelsey Norberg (Uxbridge, Mass.), Becker College swept a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) doubleheader over Southern Vermont College Sunday afternoon at Willow Park. The Hawks won 4-1 and then 1-0 in game two.
SVC concludes the regular season with an 11-19 overall record and a 9-9 mark in the NECC. Becker improves to 11-5 in league play, 14-18 on the year.
Prior to the action, Southern Vt. recognized senior Kirstin Buchan (Albany, N.Y.) and junior Hannah Cross (Bennington, Vt.) for their hard work and success with the SVC softball program, both players planning to finish their course requirements before next spring.
GAME 1: Becker 4, Southern Vt. 1
BC jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, tacking up what would be enough of a cushion for Norberg. The Hawks added another run in the third before the game saw three scoreless innings. SVC finally got on the scoreboard during its final at bat with help from the Mountaineers' first hit, a double that came with two outs in the seventh. That would be all the hosts could muster, however, as Becker took the opener 4-1.
Cross tallied the lone hit for SVC, knocking in junior Shelby Jones (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.) who had gotten on with a walk. Jones also took a pitch in the leg earlier in the game, totaling two trips on the base paths.
Junior Lauren Lavalle (Millbury, Mass.) was the only Hawk to register two hits, going 2-4 with a run scored while junior Jessica Brochu (Hardwick, Vt.) hit a home run to go 1-2 with a walk, two runs scored and a third batted in. Junior Megan Bolduc (Dover, N.H.) was 1-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in the win.
Norberg improved to 13-11 from the circle for the season, striking out seven in game one. SVC junior hurler Emily Fleming (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) took the loss (5-7), allowing the four runs while striking out two in the outing.
Lavalle scored the first of the Becker runs in the opening frame when she was knocked in on Bolduc's double. Junior Katherine DiMascio (Braintree, Mass.) hit a run-scoring single through the left side, and a sacrifice fly to left scored Brochu to cap the scoring.
Fleming was able to keep the Hawks off the base paths for a good part of the rest of the game, her one mistake being Brochu's homer to center in the third for the 4-0 lead.
Jones tried to get the offense going in the bottom of the seventh during the Mountaineers' final trip to the plate, working a lead-off walk to get on. After moving up to second on a passed ball, she took third on a ground-out to first. Cross' double brought her around, but Cross would be stranded at second as Norberg induced the game-ending fly-out to left for the 4-1 victory.
GAME 2: Becker 1, Southern Vt. 0
Game two was a tightly-contested stalemate through the first five innings. Neither team was able to capitalize with its few runners to reach base while the pitchers were both in a groove. Finally, the Hawks broke through in the top of the sixth with a seeing-eye single up the middle off the bat of Bolduc. That would be all Norberg needed as she finished off the complete game shutout and the sweep.
Mountaineer sophomore Rachel Robtoy (Baltic, Conn.) was 1-3 with a double to dead center in the sixth while Buchan was 1-2.
BC freshman Marlena Karavolis (McMurray, Pa.) and Lavalle both went 1-3 with the other hits for the Hawks.
Norberg grabbed her second win of the day, allowing no runs on just two hits and two walks; she had eight strikeouts in the back-end of the twin-bill. SVC junior Hayley McDonald (Latham, N.Y.) suffered the loss (5-7) despite giving up just one unearned run on three hits and no walks; she also struck out eight in game two.
Becker sophomore Katelyn MacLean (North Reading, Mass.) got on in the sixth with a Mountaineer fielding mishap and then moved up to second when Lavalle beat out a single to short. The two moved up a base with a sacrifice bunt, and Bolduc then came through with the eventual game-winning hit on a single just out of reach of the SVC infield.
Robtoy nearly tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when she tagged a ball to the fence in straight-away center, just missing the solo home run. The sophomore would be stranded at second, however, as Norberg worked her way out of the inning.
The Mountaineers now await the NECC playoff seeding, to be determined after the league's final games on Monday; SVC will play in the first round on Wednesday with its opponent to be determined. Becker visits Bay Path College on Monday for a 3:30 p.m. doubleheader to wrap up the regular season.
Mountaineer Hannah Cross (top) and Kirstin Buchan (bottom) pose with their Senior Day gifts, parents and Coach Davis