Softball Bested 3-0, 7-4 at Elms in NECC Doubleheader

Softball Bested 3-0, 7-4 at Elms in NECC Doubleheader

CHICOPEE, Mass. — Southern Vermont College dropped a pair of New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) softball contests Monday afternoon, falling to Elms College 3-0 and 7-4 at Cheryl R. Condon Field.

The Blazers improve to 5-9 overall and 4-2 in NECC play with the doubleheader sweep while SVC falls to 2-7 and 0-4 in league action.

A twin bill that was originally slated to be at SVC was moved to the Elms campus as field conditions in Vermont prevented the Mountaineers from hosting the series. In continuing the home/away Conference schedule, Southern Vermont batted in the bottom of the inning during both of Monday's games.

SVC next hosts Bay Path University on Thursday for the Mountaineers' home opener, the NECC first pitch slated for 2:30 p.m. at Willow Park in Bennington.

GAME 1: Elms 3, Southern Vermont 0
The day's opener saw neither team scratch across a run until Elms put up a single tally in the top of the fourth, fifth, and sixth. SVC was kept off the bases for most of the game, being held to just two hits in the contest.

Southern Vermont senior catcher Kirstin Buchan (Troy, N.Y.) and senior first baseman Hayley McDonald (Latham, N.Y.) were both 1-3 at the plate in the setback. SVC senior hurler Emily Fleming (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) suffered the loss (1-5), giving up just one earned run on five hits in her seven innings from the circle; the right-hander struck out five Blazers on the day. EC senior Bethany Grimes (Terryville, Conn.) collected the complete-game shutout from the rubber (3-4), striking out 11 while giving up just the two hits and three walks.

The Mountaineers were able to get a pair of runners into scoring position in the bottom of the first, but Grimes worked her first strikeout of the day to end the threat. Fleming got Elms to go down in order in both the first and second innings before giving up just a lone single in the top of the third. The scoreless tie was broken in the fourth as a lead-off base hit would later cross home on a two-out RBI single up the middle.

After putting Southern Vermont down in order to finish the fourth, EC tacked on its first piece of insurance in the next inning with a little small-ball; a lead-off single was moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt and then onto third with a ground out to the right side. A passed ball then made way for the runner to score from third, making it a 2-0 Blazer lead. Elms added its final run in the sixth with a squeeze play that ultimately gave Grimes more than enough support for the league victory.

GAME 2: Elms 7, Southern Vermont 4
Elms wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard in game two, grabbing a pair of runs in each of the first two innings. EC would score another in both the third and fourth before Southern Vermont cut it to a two-run deficit with four in the bottom of the sixth. The Blazers extended their lead with a single run in the seventh for the eventual 7-4 final.

Fleming went 1-3 with an RBI at the plate while senior catcher Shelby Jones (Hoosick Falls, N.Y.) scored a run and knocked in another. Senior center fielder Erika Garay (Walnut, Calif.) and junior second baseman Rachel Robtoy (Baltic, Conn.) were both 1-3 with a run scored in the effort, and McDonald added another 1-3 showing.

McDonald went the first four innings in the circle, striking out four while being strapped with the loss (0-2). Fleming tallied three strikeouts in relief as Elms senior starter Jessica Colson (Agawam, Mass.) grabbed the complete-game win (2-4), recording nine strikeouts while only giving up one earned run.

A walk started the game, and an ensuing steal quickly put a Blazer in scoring position. A single down the line in left brought in the first Elms run before a two-out single to left center plated the second. A pair of singles in the second preceded those runners swiping a bag for EC to get two Blazers in scoring position. That led to a two-run single to center for the 4-0 Elms advantage.

With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the third, EC was able to get a fly ball deep enough for the runner at third to tag and score for the sacrifice. The Blazers then started the fourth with three straight singles, setting up another sac fly for the 6-0 lead. Neither side could score in the fifth as Elms held on to its upper hand.

Southern Vermont then broke its offensive drought in the bottom of the sixth with four runs that trimmed the lead down to two. Garay started the inning with a base hit to center before Robtoy laid down a bunt to get aboard with no outs. A subsequent Elms fielding miscue allowed Garay to score before a fielder's choice brought Robtoy in from third to make it 6-2. Fleming then followed with a run-scoring single up the middle to bring Nichols in from third, and Jones was able to make it home safely on an Elms throwing error back to the pitcher.

Up just 6-4, EC answered with a run in the top of the seventh. A lead-off single would come around to score on a bases-loaded squeeze play to extend the upper hand back to three. Colson finished off the game with a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, getting a pair of ground outs before her last strikeout of the day completed the sweep.