CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College junior catcher Sarah Buckley(Wilbraham, Mass.) drove in senior right fielder Jennifer Killion(Cambridge, Mass.) in the bottom of the fourth inning with what proved to be the game-winning run as the fourth-seeded Blazers outlasted No. 5 Bay Path College, 1-0 in Wednesday afternoon's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament first round game at Cheryl R. Condon Field.
With the win, Elms improves to 15-17 overall and will face top seed and tournament host Lesley University on Friday, May 4 at 10:00 a.m. at Wellesley College. Bay Path concludes its season 14-26 overall.
In a pitcher's duel that saw the sides play scoreless softball through three and a half innings, Elms finally crossed the dish when Killion reached on an error to start the frame, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior second baseman Ali Bonavita (Agawam, Mass.) and then scored on a single to center field by Buckley to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
Elms' senior pitcher Courtney Hampton (Westfield, Mass.) (11-9) tossed a gem in the circle, surrendering just two hits while striking out 10 batters. The Wildcats moved just one runner to second base in the seven inning contest.
The Blazers had a chance to score a run in the bottom of the first when Killion legged out a one-out triple but was stranded; and then again in the sixth with the bases loaded but Bay Path shortstop Emily Serrano (North Adams, Mass.) snagged a line drive and doubled-up the runner at third to keep the game at 1-0.
Wildcats' pitcher Keelin Dougherty (Northfield, N.H.) was terrific in the circle scattering just five hits through six innings with five strikeouts and just one unearned run. Dougherty concludes her season with a 9-15 overall record.
Marina Rhodes (Providence, R.I.) and Mercedes Griffith (Malden, Mass.) earned Bay Path's two hits, while Killion accounted for two of Elms' five hits.
Buckley, sophomore designated player Caitlee Carrier (Charlestown, Mass.) and sophomore first baseman Ally Witaszek (Feeding Hills, Mass.) connected for a base hit each in the winning effort for the Blazers.
Courtsey of Elms College