May 15, 2011



Providence, RI-Freshman left fielder Stacy Pokora (Wilton, CT) belted a three-run homer with one out in the top of the seventh to lead Rhode Island College to a come-from-behind, 3-1, win over Eastern Connecticut in game 14 at the Providence Regional of the 2011 NCAA Div. III Softball Championship played at RIC’s Dayna A. Bazar Softball Complex.


The two teams will play a decisive Championship Game on Monday, May 16 at 10 a.m., with the winner heading to Salem, VA for the National Championship Round as one of the final eight teams remaining in the tournament.



 Freshman left fielder Stacy Pokora celebrates with her teammates after
smacking the game-winning home run in the top of the seventh inning.


RIC (38-12), which was decisively beaten by Eastern (33-5), 11-0, two days ago, has fought its way back with four consecutive wins, staving off elimination in each one, to be in this position. The Anchorwomen had lost seven straight to the Warriors prior to Pokora’s heroic effort.


ECSU junior Molly Rathbun (Hebron, CT) and RIC senior Amanda Berard (Swansea, MA), both First Team All-Little East Conference selections, each kept the opposition off the scoreboard through the first four innings. Eastern stranded six runners, which included four in scoring position, through the first four innings.


The Warriors broke through against Berard in the bottom of the fifth as junior right fielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford, CT) led off and beat out a dribbler back to the pitching circle. She then moved up to second on a wild pitch. Rathbun had an epic battle with Berard, fouling off several pitches, before lining an RBI single to the gap in right center to plate the speedy Alicea.



 Senior pitcher Amanda Berard


RIC threatened in the top of the sixth. Senior catcher Kayla Jandreau (Plainville, CT) singled to right field and with two down and classmate first baseman Chelsi Panarelli (Shrewsbury, MA) walked. Rathbun went to a full count with junior third baseman Cristina Bailey (Londonderry, NH), but picked up a called third strike call to get out of the jam.


After Rathbun got the first out in the top of the seventh, RIC sophomore designated player Emily Johnson (West Kingston, RI) reached on an error and senior center fielder Amanda Perry (New Bedford, MA) went the opposite way with a seeing eye single through the right side. Pokora followed by crushing a towering three-run home run (3) over the left field fence to put the Anchorwomen in front. It snapped a 16.2 inning scoreless streak for RIC against Rathbun.


Berard, who has thrown the club’s last 26 innings, was brilliant once again. She allowed just one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts. Prior to the Eastern game, she hurled a complete game victory over St. Joseph’s (ME).


Rathbun remarkably suffers her first loss of the season (22-1), allowing two earned runs on four hits in a nine-strikeout performance.