May 7, 2011


Reach Championship Game for Fifth Time in Six Years

Danbury, Conn.-Fourth-seeded Rhode Island College lost, 7-1, to top-seeded Eastern Connecticut in the championship game of the 2011 Little East Conference Softball Tournament played at Western Connecticut's Westside Field.


The Anchorwomen (33-11) reached the tourney's title contest for the fifth time in six years by defeating second-seeded Western Connecticut (27-12), 3-0, in an elimination game prior to the championship contest. RIC had lost three straight games to WestConn, including a 2-0 shutout yesterday. The Anchorwomen, who were swept by the Colonials on Sunday in the regular season finale, snapped a 23-inning scoreless streak to the hosts with a three-run seventh to advance to the finals against the Warriors (30-4).



(right to left): Seniors Amanda Perry, Amanda Berard, Kayla Jandreau,
Chelsi Panarelli, Laura DeNoncour and Donielle Mattoon accept the 2011 Little East Conference Softball Tournament Runner-up Trophy.


RIC, along with WestConn, will hope to gain an at-large bid to the 2011 NCAA Div. III Softball Tournament, which begins on Thursday, May 12. Rhode Island College's Dayna A. Bazar is the host site for the New England Regional. RIC will find out on Monday, May 9 (noon) if it gains a berth.


Senior pitcher Amanda Berard (Swansea, MA) fired a complete game, three-hit shutout to earn her 13th win (13-5) of the season in the opener against WestConn.


The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when RIC, the home team, came up to bat. Sophomore right fielder Kristina Gingell (Pascoag, RI) led off with a single, was sacrificed to second and moved over to third on freshman left fielder Stacy Pokora's (Wilton, CT) infield single. Senior catcher Kayla Jandreau (Plainville, CT) followed with an RBI single to left field to bring in the game's first run.


Sophomore second baseman Marisa Jandreau (Plainville, CT) followed with a fielder's choice and a WestConn error on the play loaded the bases. RIC plated two more as senior shortstop Donielle Mattoon (Coventry, RI) brought in Pokora with an RBI fielder's choice and classmate first baseman Chelsi Panarelli (Shrewsbury, MA) was walked with the sacks loaded to spot the Anchorwomen a three-run lead.


The Colonials put runners on second and third in the top of the seventh, but Berard secured the win with a pair of strikeouts and a lineout to send RIC to the title game. Kayla Jandreau went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored from the top spot in the batting order. WestConn's junior righty Magen Dargon (Trumbull, CT) took the loss (19-7), allowing three runs (two earned) on 10 hits, while walking three and striking out two.


The Anchorwomen then had to face longtime nemesis Eastern Connecticut, the No. 1-ranked team in New England, in the championship and would need to beat ECSU twice in order to claim the conference title. RIC entered the game having lost five straight to the vaunted Warriors.


Due to the Little East rules, RIC was the home team in the championship game. Eastern, which was previously unbeaten at the tournament, would have been the home team in the second game (if necessary) of the double elimination format.


RIC struck early, putting a run across in the first. The Anchorwomen had runners on first and second with one down and junior third baseman Cristina Bailey (Londonderry, NH) singled to center field to bring in Mattoon and make it, 1-0.


Anchorwoman junior starter Kyla Puccini (North Dighton, MA) was able to keep the potent Eastern Connecticut offense from scoring until the pivotal fifth inning.


With two on and nobody out, sophomore first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington, CT) singled through the left side to tie the game, 1-1. Junior right fielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford, CT) cleared the bases with a two-run single to give the Warriors the lead for good. ECSU wasn't finished as junior starting pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron, CT) contributed an RBI fielder's choice and later scored on a wild pitch. Freshman center fielder Courtney Jobin (Oxford, MA) capped the six-run frame with an RBI sacrifice fly.


Freshman shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester, CT) in the game's final run in the sixth with an RBI single.


Rathbun allowed one run on four hits, while striking out four to earn the win (19-0). She was named the tourney's Most Outstanding Player, earning all four victories for Eastern. Puccini took the loss (11-4). Sophomore Emily Johnson (West Kingston, RI) came in for Puccini in the fifth and allowed one run on four hits in 2.2 innings of work.


Kayla Jandreau went 2-for-3 for the Anchorwomen.