SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Amherst College softball team captured the program's first-ever NCAA Division III Regional Title after capturing a 6-2 victory over UMass Boston Sunday afternoon at Potter Field in Springfield, Massachusetts.
With the win, the Mammoths improves to 31-10, and will advance to the Sweet Sixteen to take on Ramapo in the Super Regional, taking place from May 19-20.
Gina Pagan '18 was stellar in the circle from the start inducing a leadoff groundout back to the circle before fanning the next two batters.
Batting through its entire lineup in the opening frame, Amherst wasted no time getting on the scoreboard recording four runs on four hits to take an early 4-0 lead. Sammy Salustri '19 reached first base on a hit-by-pitch before Kyra Naftel '19 took control of the program's single-season hits record on a single through the left side. Driving in the first run of the contest, Kate Kopatic '20 scored Salutri on a double to right center. With two-outs, Julia Turner '19 laid down a bunt, but a throwing error by the pitcher allowed Naftel and Kopatic to cross home plate while Turner took second base. Continuing its momentum, Alena Marovitz '17 and Ally Kido '18 used back-to-back singles to play another Amherst run.
Holding the Beacons scoreless, the Mammoths tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third to extend its lead, 6-0. Turner and Marovitz stayed hot at the plate notching back-to-back singles to the left side before Kido moved both runners on a groundout to the pitcher. Annie McCluskey '20 ripped a two-out grounder to right field to plate both runs before the inning was retired.
Answering back immediately, UMass Boston drew a leadoff walk and notched two base hits in the inning to cut the deficit to 6-1. In the top of the sixth, Roxanne Vento singled to right field, but an Amherst error allowed her to advance to second and third. Gia Raczkowski drew a walk for the Beacans to place runners on the corners and Alyssa Tulley followed up with an RBI groundout to score Vento. Pagan struck out the next batter and walked the next two to load the bases. Threatening to score, Pagan got out of a jam with a strike out to get out of the inning.
Pagan finished the final inning much like the first, with two strikeouts and a groundout back to the circle to secure the NCAA Division III Regional Title. Improving her record to 20-4, the junior pitcher hurled a four-hitter and fanned 10 batters in the win. For her efforts, Pagan was named the Regional Tounament's Most Outstanding Player.
BY THE NUMBERS
• Amherst held a 10-4 advantage in hits and a 2-1 edge in errors over the Beacons.
• Naftel led the Mammoth offense going 3-for-4 at the plate, while Marovitz also recorded a multi-hit game going 2-for-3.
• Naftel is the all-time leader in hits in a single-season with 61, while Marovitz moves into second all-time in RBI with 36, respectively.
• Pagan posted a 0.53 ERA in the NCAA tournament and picked up her 150 strikeout of the season.
All Tournament Team
Amherst College - Gina Pagan (Most Outstanding Player)
Amherst College - Sammy Salustri
Amherst College - Kate Kopatic
UMass Boston - Roxanne Vento
UMass Boston - Jess Greenspan
UMass Boston - Kaitlyn Morse
Springfield College - Kristen Drobiak
Springfield College - Allie Wheeler
Salve Regina - Kelsey Boarman
Salve Regina - Emily Woznick