NORTON, Mass. – After tossing a shutout against third-seeded Babson earlier in the day, freshman pitcher Kristine Kahl (Monmouth, Maine) completed an incredible afternoon in the circle by pithing sixth-seeded United States Coast Guard Academy past second-seeded Wheaton College, 3-2, on day one of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Softball Tournament at Clark Field on Saturday.
With their second victory of the day, the defending champion Bears (22-15) move to the winner's bracket of the double-elimination tourney, which will conclude next Saturday and Sunday at top-seeded Springfield College.
Wheaton (24-15) struck first in the bottom of the third, as sophomore pitcher Emily Berardi (Boston, Mass./Boston Latin) and freshman Erin Dineen (Framingham, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) each drew a walk and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Emma Hart (Lincoln, R.I./Lincoln). Junior Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) then drove in both runners with a double to deep right, giving the Lyons a 2-0 advantage.
Coast Guard got one run back in the top of the fourth, as senior Holli Bastinck (Wayne, N.J.) reached on an error, took second on a single by junior Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Wash.), moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a groundout to second by junior Kelly Grills (Pawcatuck, Conn.).
The Bears tied it the following inning when sophomore Jessie Richardson (Kent, Wash.) doubled to right center and scored on a single by sophomore Erin Lisko (Waynesboro, Pa.). Coast Guard then had a chance to take the lead when Bastinck reached on an infield single to second, but Dineen fired a strike to the plate to cut down Lisko trying to score all the way from second on the play.
Coast Guard plated the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh, starting when an error allowed senior Summer Dupler (Beverly Hills, Fla.) to take second base to open the frame. Richardson then sacrificed her to third, and Lisko followed with a line-drive single to right center - her second RBI hit in as many innings – to give the Bears a 3-2 advantage.
Wheaton threatened in the bottom of the seventh, as singles by senior Amanda Drury (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) and Hart and a walk to Rocha loaded the bases with two away. However, Kahl induced a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of freshman Marissa Timoteo (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter) that enabled Bastinck to get the easy force out at third for the game's final out.
Kahl allowed two runs – both of which were earned – on seven hits, walked four and struck out one in tossing her second complete game of the day. Lisko and Bastinck each finished with two hits for the Bears, with Lisko also knocking in a pair.
Sophomore Noelle Christmas (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) took the loss in relief for Wheaton, giving up one unearned run on one hit while striking out one in two innings of work. Berardi started and allowed two runs – only one of which was earned – on seven hits while fanning one in five innings. Hart paced the Lyons' offense, going 3-for-3, while Rocha added two RBIs.