BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southern Vermont College softball team celebrated its 2016 Senior Day Saturday afternoon at Willow Park, although the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) doubleheader results were not favorable for the Mountaineers as visiting Mitchell College won 13-2 and 11-2 in a pair of five-inning contests.
SVC led 2-1 through the second in the opener before the Mariners opened up the game with 12 runs through the next three innings to grab a comfortable lead they would use to invoke the run rule. MC then put up nine runs in the top of the first in the second matchup and never looked back.
Southern Vermont (3-23, 3-15) wraps up the 2016 campaign with a Sunday non-conference doubleheader back at Willow as the Mountaineers welcome in Pine Manor College for a 1 p.m. start. The Mariners now prepare for the NECC first round play-in game on Tuesday, likely visiting Lesley University as the fifth seed in the league's tournament.
Between Saturday's contests, SVC recognized and honored its four graduating team members: Michelle Flores (Pico Rivera, Calif.), Karina Meza (Los Angeles, Calif.), Rachel Robtoy (Baltic, Conn.), and Lissa Soler (Yonkers, N.Y.).
GAME 1: Mitchell 13 – Southern Vermont 2 (5 inn.)
The visitors tacked up a lone run in the top of the first, only to see SVC take over the upper hand with a pair in the home half on a homer. MC regained the lead with five runs in the third, and the Mariners added another seven over the next two frames to get the separation needed to end the game ahead of schedule.
Mountaineer sophomore catcher Nicole Matthews (Pittstown, N.Y.) provided the SVC runs with her third home run of the year, knocking out a two-run dinger in the bottom of the first as she went 1-for-2 in the opener. Freshman shortstop Lizzy Bench (Saint Petersburg, Fla.) went 1-for-3 with a run scored, and classmate Molly Madore (Higganum, Conn.) tagged a double while going 1-for-2 at the dish.
Mitchell junior starting pitcher Brittany Fiederlein (E. Hampton, Conn.) was 4-for-4 in the day's first game with three runs scored while senior first baseman Shannon O'Neil (Chicopee, Mass.) turned in a 3-for-4 performance with four RBIs and three runs scored; both Mariners tallied a double in the first win. Freshman second baseman Jacquelyn White (Danville, Vt.) went 1-for-4, her hit being a three-run triple to help give the Mariners the eight-run difference.
Fiederlein went all five innings from the circle, striking out six SVC batters as she improved to 10-9 on the season. Southern Vermont freshman righty Taylor Blake (Wilmington, Vt.) also tossed the complete game, striking out two in the loss (0-6).
Mitchell got its run in the first with two outs, a Mountaineer throwing miscue allowing sophomore catcher Samantha DelConte (Enfield, Conn.) to score with the day's opening run. SVC had an answer, however, and went in front with two of its own after Robtoy worked a one-out walk to get aboard. Matthews extended to make solid contact, sending the ball the opposite way and over the fence in left for the two-out homer which made it a 2-1 ballgame.
Madore roped her double down the line in left field to put Mountaineers at second and third with two down in the next inning, but Fiederlein was able to induce an inning-ending ground out to third to maintain the deficit.
That's when the Mariners seized a lead they would keep for good, scoring five runs in the third with the help of back-to-back doubles to start the frame. Fiederline led-off with her two-bagger to the gap in left-center, and O'Neil came just inches from a home run of her own as she tagged a wall-scraping double to left that scored the runner. Mitchell loaded the bases for White to crank her three-run triple to the gap in left, and she then scored to make it an 8-1 contest on an RBI ground out off the bat of junior left fielder Nia Brown (New York, N.Y.).
MC padded that lead in the next inning as O'Neil ripped a run-scoring singled through the left side and moved up 60 feet on an SVC mishap. She would soon-after score when sophomore third baseman Danielle Autieri (North Salem, N.Y.) sent a two-out double to left for the 8-2 advantage.
The Mariners added another five in the fifth, the first two coming in as freshman shortstop Suzanne Vachon (East Hartford, Conn.) rounded the bases after singling through the left side with a runner on first; she moved around to third with aggressive base running after a fielding error occurred in the outfield, and she would then continue to round the diamond as she caught the Mountaineers off guard and took off from third to score.
Two Mariner singles ensued, and O'Neil followed with a homer sent out to center to put her team up 13-2. Fiederlein sat the SVC side down in order in the bottom of the fifth, closing out the front-end victory.
GAME 2: Mitchell 11 – Southern Vermont 2 (5 inn.)
MC chalked up nine runs in the top of the first before adding another two in the third. SVC got on the board with a lone run in the fourth and then crossed one more time in the fifth, but it would not be enough for the game to continue as Mitchell finished off the sweep.
Bench was 2-for-3 with a stolen base, a run scored and another batted in while Matthews also went 2-for-3, scoring a run of her own and stealing a pair of bases. Freshman Kayla Emmi (Syracuse, N.Y.) was 1-for-3 with a stolen base in the effort.
DelConte had a 3-for-4 showing at the plate with three runs and two RBIs as Autieri went 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and a run knocked in. Vachon went 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored while Fiederlein helped her cause with a 1-for-3 performance in the box, adding a walk, a run scored and an RBI to her line.
Fiederlein struck out six Mountaineer batters to pick up her second win (11-11) of the day as Matthews suffered the loss (2-9) from the circle, striking out three in her outing.
A passed ball got the scoring started in the top of the first after DelConte tagged a double, and Autieri followed with a run-scoring single to get DelConte home. The Mariners loaded the bases and worked four walks to push runs across through the frame as DelConte added a two-run single after the visitors batted around the order to stake a quick 9-0 upper hand.
After Bench doubled in the home half of the first, Matthews got aboard with a fielder's choice and was part of a double steal that put a pair of Mountaineers into scoring position with two down. Fiederlein worked out of it, however, retiring the side with a ground out to third.
MC padded its lead in the third after DelConte led-off the frame with a single, the Mariner being driven in on a Fiederlein double during the next at bat. The Mitchell pitcher then came around to score on an RBI single by freshman Taylor Duchesneau (Killingly, Conn.) that made it an 11-0 ballgame.
Southern Vermont ended the shutout bid in the fourth as Matthews started the inning with a single and stole her way into scoring position. A grounder to short and a subsequent throwing error on the same play allowed her to round third and cross the plate with SVC's first run of the game.
The Mountaineers added another in the fifth when Bench jacked her second home run of the year over the fence in left, a solo shot that made it 11-2 with two down. Matthews extended the game with an ensuing double, but that would be it for Southern Vermont as MC closed out the victory.