SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Babson College softball team used a standout pitching performance from junior Kathleen Conway (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury) to advance to the final day of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Softball Championship on Saturday after blanking Wheaton, 5-0.
Babson (30-11) will now take on Coast Guard at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at Springfield Colelge with the winner advancing to take on Springfield. The Pride will need to beat the winner of that game just once to claim the conference title. Wheaton (25-16) awaits a possible at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will occur on Monday, May 6 at 10 a.m.
Conway had a great outing in the circle for Babson, posting nine strikeouts while scattering four hits en route to the shutout win.
For Wheaton, junior Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) shouldered the loss after giving up four earned runs off seven hits in four innings of work. Sophomore Noelle Christmas (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) surrenedered two earned runs in one-inning, while classmate Emily Berardi (Boston, Mass./Boston Latin) tossed the final two innings, allowing just one hit as the Lyons third hurler of the afternoon.
The Beavers wasted little time seizing control of the game as they opened up a 2-0 advantage on back-to-back solo homeruns by senior Catie Funk (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) and freshman Caitie Benoit (Williamstown, Mass./Mt. Greylock) in the first inning. In the third, Funk was intentionally walked to lead off the inning, but Benoit made the Lyons pay by blasting a double to right for the game's third run.
Babson added another single run in the fourth as junior Christa Shorette (Southington, Conn./Southington) led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Emily Morris (Wolcott, Conn./Wolcott), before crossing the dish on a sac fly from freshman Maya Lacy (East Mill Creek, Utah/Skyline). With two outs in the fifth, the Beavers added to their lead thanks to a two-run double by Conway which plated Benoit and Ashleigh Phelps.
Both Benoit and Conway had two RBI and Phelps tallied three hits.