May 6, 2011



Anchorwomen Stay Alive By Taking Out Beacons To Reach Final Three

Danbury, Conn.-Fourth-seeded Rhode Island College kept its 2011 Little East Conference Softball Tournament title quest alive by eliminating fifth-seeded UMass Boston, 4-1, in game six of the league tourney played at Western Connecticut's Westside Field on Friday afternoon.


The Anchorwomen (32-10), who defeated third-seeded Keene State yesterday in game three, 5-3, began the day with a contest against second-seeded Western Connecticut and lost, 2-0, which set up the elimination game against the Beacons, who had defeated sixth-seeded Plymouth State, 4-2, in game four yesterday.


Rhode Island College, which dropped a doubleheader to WestConn on Sunday in the regular season finale, will face the Colonials for the fourth time in six days in an elimination contest (game nine) on Saturday, May 7 at 11 a.m.  Western Connecticut lost, 5-3, to top-seeded Eastern Connecticut in a battle of previous tourney unbeaten clubs in game eight.



Junior pitcher Kyla Puccini


In today's loss, WestConn's junior righty Magen Dargon (Trumbull, CT) may have hurled the best finesse game of the tournament.


Dargon improved to 19-5 after allowing just one hit, while striking out just two and walking one. She kept the Anchorwomen off balance in the early afternoon affair. The defense behind her performed well as the infield registered 10 out and the three grass dwellers recorded eight putouts.


WestConn got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning when Jacki Zilnicki (Riverhead, NY) reached on an error to lead off the frame. She advanced to second on a ground out by Amy Hartman (Ellington, CT), moved over to third, then home on back-to-back wild pitches by RIC senior starter Amanda Berard (Swansea, MA).


The Colonials tacked on a insurance run in the top of the seventh when Anna Levesque (Waterford, CT) led off the inning with her fourth home run of the season.


Berard, now 12-5, allowed just four hits while striking out three and walking two.


The loss forced the Anchorwomen to play right away against the Beacons, who had not played since yesterday/ The Anchorwomen received an outstanding pitching performance from junior righty Kyla Puccini (North Dighton, MA) to keep their postseason alive.


In her first appearance of the tournament, Puccini went the distance and scattered only one extra-base hit. She struck out one and yielded just one free pass.



Senior first baseman Chelsi Panarelli


RIC got on the scoreboard first, in the top of the fourth inning when sophomore second baseman Marisa Jandreau (Plainville, CT) led of fifth inning with a single up the middle. After a walk to senior shortstop Donielle Mattoon (Coventry, RI) moved Jandreau over to center stage, senior first baseman Chelsi Panarelli's (Shrewsbury, MA) double brought her around for a 1-0 lead.


The Anchorwomen secured a 4-0 advantage with three runs in the top of the seventh inning. The big blow in the final frame came when freshman left fielder Stacy Pokora (Wilton, CT) hit a two-run home run over the eight-foot fence in left. It was the second home run of her career.



Freshman outfielder Stacy Pokora


Puccini allowed a run in the ninth off an RBI single from Maria Nasta (Andover, MA). Her single through the left side plated Lisa Polsonetti (Revere, MA) who reached on a single with one out.


The Beacons, 24-15, loaded the bases before Puccini induced Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, NJ) to ground back to the center circle. Katie Corey suffered the loss and falls to 11-9 on the season. She allowed five hits while striking out four and walking a trio.