Sophomore Merry MacDonald hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the fifth inning on Sunday
May 11, 2008
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. - The Endicott College softball team was defeated, 3-1, in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament Championship by Cortland State at Cardinal Park in Plattsburgh, N.Y. on Sunday.
Cortland freshman Donnalyn Cross (Binghamton, N.Y.) opened the game with a lead-off walk and moved into scoring position on sacrifice bunt by Larissa Tenley (Sinking Spring, Pa.). Senior Annemarie Nelson (Nassau, N.Y.) followed by ripping a line drive to the left side which was snared by the outreaching glove of Endicott sophomore Merry MacDonald (Braintree, Mass.), who immediately threw behind the runner at second to complete the inning-ending double play.
That would be as close as either team would get to scoring through the first three innings as Endicott sophomore Maria Mangine (Lockport, N.Y.) and Cortland sophomore Katie Finch (Amsterdam, N.Y.) locked up in a classic pitcher's duel. Finch carried a no-hitter through the first three innings, only to be outdone by Mangine who kept the Red Dragons hitless through four.
In the top of the fifth junior Bethany Williamson (Lyons Falls, N.Y.) gave Cortland their first hit of the day with a lead-off single to center field. Pinch-hitter Crystal Carlson (Lancaster, N.Y.) dropped a sacrifice bunt moving pinch-runner Maria Blum (Alden, N.Y.) into scoring position. Third baseman Jackie Begnoche (Montgomery, N.Y.) followed with an RBI double down the right field line, scoring Blum and giving the Red Dragons a 1-0 lead.
The lead would be short lived, as sophomore Merry MacDonald smashed a majestic game-tying home run to dead center field in the bottom half of the fifth, electrifying the crowd and giving Endicott new life.
The Red Dragons were threatening again in the top of the sixth after senior Amanda Barnett (Syracuse, N.Y.) led-off the inning with a double off the fence in left. An Endicott error put runners on the corners with two down for junior Bethany Williamson. Mangine worked her way out the jam by inducing a groundball to second to end the inning and keep the game tied at 1-all.
Cortland continued to put the pressure on the Endicott defense in the top of the seventh, as freshman Brooke Weidman (Perkinsville, N.Y.) led-off with a base hit to center field. After Weidman was moved over to second with a sacrifice bunt, junior Kim Whitman (Victor, N.Y.) knocked a single through the left side off the glove of the diving MacDonald. As the ball trickled out to left field Whitman motored into second, putting two runners in scoring position for Donnalyn Cross with just one out. Cross came through with what would turn out to be the game-winning hit, a clutch two-run single up the middle past the diving second baseman Sara Spaziano (Norton, Mass.) to give the Red Dragons a 3-1 lead.
Katie Finch retired the Gulls in the bottom half of the inning to give Cortland the 3-1 victory, as the Red Dragons captured the NCAA Division III Plattsburgh Regional Tournament Championship.
Finch earned the win for Cortland, improving her overall season record to 21-7. She went seven strong innings giving up just one run on five hits while striking out seven. Freshman Donnalyn Cross was the offensive star of the game going 1-3 with a walk and a game-winning two-run single in the seventh.
Sophomore Maria Mangine took the tough-luck loss for the Gulls for just the second time this season, falling to 15-2 overall. She surrendered three runs, two earned, on just five hits over seven innings of work. Third baseman Merry MacDonald led EC's offensive attack going 1-3 with a game-tying home run in the fifth. Senior Rachel Pearson was also solid at the dish going 2-3 in the loss.
Pearson, along with sophomores Merry MacDonald and Maria Mangine, were all name to the All-Tournament Team. MacDonald led the team with a .467 tournament average and a fantastic .933 slugging percentage. She also had a team-high seven hits, two home runs, and 14 total bases. Pearson led the team with a tournament on-base percentage of .500. She collected six hits in 14 at-bats for a .429 average. Mangine compiled a miniscule 0.67 tournament ERA while going 2-1 in three starts. She struck out 13 batters in 21 innings while tossing two complete-game shutouts.
The Gulls finish the season as the winningest team in school history, going 41-6 overall while outscoring their opponents 263-86.