May 16, 2011



Providence, RI-Eastern Connecticut defeated Little East Conference rival Rhode Island College, 4-1, to win the Providence Regional of the 2011 NCAA Div. III Softball Championship played at RIC’s Dayna A. Bazar Softball Complex.


The Warriors (34-5) will head to Salem, Virginia for the National Championship Round as one of the final eight teams remaining in the tournament. The Anchorwomen (38-13) are eliminated and complete their season as one of the top 16 teams in the nation.


Eastern is heading back to the National Championship Round for the second straight campaign. The Warriors finished third in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Warriors were on the verge of winning the regional yesterday, but a seventh inning three-run homer by RIC freshman left fielder Stacy Pokora (Wilton, CT) overcame a 1-0 deficit to give the Anchorwomen a 3-1 victory and force a decisive final game today.




For the second consecutive day, the Warriors struck first against the Anchorwomen. With one away in the top of the second, sophomore first baseman Kelly Paterson (Southington, CT) double to the left field corner. RIC senior pitcher Amanda Berard (Swansea, MA) induced a ground out to third, but freshman left fielder Stephanie Johnson (Plantsville, CT) followed by singling up the middle and to bring in Paterson. The Anchorwomen were able to end the inning on the same play as senior catcher Kayla Jandreau (Plainville, CT) took the throw from the outfield and gunned down Johnson who was trying to advance to second.


Eastern threatened in the third as freshman shortstop Megan Godwin (Manchester, CT) and junior right fielder Priscilla Alicea (Stratford, CT) each walked with one away. The pair moved up a station on a passed ball, but Berard struck out junior pitcher Molly Rathbun (Hebron, CT) and got sophomore third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic, CT) to ground out to Panarelli to get out of the jam.


The Warriors added to their advantage in the fifth as Johnson singled with one away. Godwin was issued a walk and the pair moved up to second and third on a passed ball. Johnson scored on Alicea’s RBI ground out to shortstop to give Eastern a 2-0 lead. Berard was able to retire Rathbun with an infield pop up to limit the damage.


Rathbun retired the first 12 Anchorwomen in succession until fifth inning. Panarelli led off with walk, and after a strikeout, sophomore right fielder Kristina Gingell (Pascoag, RI) notched RIC’s first hit of the day through the left side. In a strange play, sophomore designated hitter Emily Johnson (West Kingston, RI) popped up directly over the second base bag. An infield fly was called, but Godwin collided with Panarelli causing the ball to drop to the ground. Godwin picked the ball up and fired to Cooper at third as a precaution and Cooper’s return throw to Godwin picked off Panarelli to end the frame.


The Warriors, who only mustered one run against Berard yesterday, were able to tack on two important insurance runs in the top of the sixth to increase their advantage to 4-0. Cooper walked, and after a strikeout, Paterson also was issued a free pass. Senior designated player Rachel Soychak (Mahopac, NY) sacrificed the pair into scoring position and Johnson was the hero once again, smacking a two-run single up the middle.


Rhode Island College was able to score a run in the home half of the sixth as Pokora lined a triple that got over Alicea’s head in right and rolled to the wall. Jandreau laid down a bunt back to Rathbun, who elected to go for the sure out and concede the run.


Eastern had runners on first and second with one down in the top of the seventh, but Berard got a pair of ground outs to keep her team within three heading into their last at-bat.


In the bottom of the seventh, senior shortstop Donielle Mattoon (Coventry, RI) led off with a single up the middle. Rathbun struck out Panarelli, junior third baseman Cristina Bailey (Londonderry, NH) and got Gingell to pop out to Godwin to secure the victory.


Rathbun earned the win (23-1), allowing just one run on three hits in a six-strikeout effort. Berard, who threw 33 innings in two days, suffered the loss (18-7). She allowed four runs on six hits.


Johnson was the offensive catalyst on the day, going 3-for-3 with a run scored and three RBI.



Donielle Mattoon, Rachel Soychak, Molly Rathbun, Amanda Berard, Stacy Pokora, Megan Godwin, Arielle Cooper and Stephanie Johnson
were all named to the Providence Regional's All-Tournament Team.


2011 NCAA Div. III Softball Tournament
Providence Regional All-Tournament Team

Catcher: Ashley Howe, Worcester State

First Base: Alyssa Dunn, St. Joseph’s (ME)

Second Base: Connie Grovo, St. Joseph’s (ME)

Shortstop: Megan Godwin, Eastern Connecticut

Third Base: Arielle Cooper, Eastern Connecticut

Outfield: Emily Leverone, St. Joseph’s (ME)

Outfield: Stacy Pokora, Rhode Island College

Outfield: Stephanie Johnson, Eastern Connecticut

Pitcher: Molly Rathbun, Eastern Connecticut

Pitcher: Amanda Berard, Rhode Island College

Designated Player: Rachel Soychak, Eastern Connecticut

At-Large: Donielle Mattoon (SS), Rhode Island College

At-Large: Hayley Feindel (P), Coast Guard

At-Large: Hayley Hovhanessian (OF), Endicott

At-Large: Maddie Buchert (1B), Coast Guard