OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Amherst College softball team's outstanding season came to an end Saturday afternoon when the Mammoths fell to NESCAC and Little III rival Williams College, 4-1 in the NCAA Division III Softball Championship at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla.
With the loss, Amherst concludes its historic 2017 campaign 34-12 overall. Williams (38-12) advances to Sunday's 4:30 p.m. EST (3:30 CST) contest to take on St. John Fisher College (43-6) at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
In the top of the first, Amherst put a runner into scoring position when Sammy Salustri '19 singled to right field and then advanced to second when Kate Kopatic '20 drew a two-out walk. However, she was stranded there as Williams' starting pitcher Rebecca Duncan struck out the next batter.
In the bottom of the first, the Ephs loaded the bases with two outs but couldn't break the deadlock as an inning-ending fielder's choice allowed pitcher Gina Pagan '18 and the Amherst defense to get out of the inning without any damage.
The second frame saw both sides advance a runner as far as second base but neither team was able to push a run across. In the top of the third, Lauren Tuiskula '17 reached on a throwing error to start the inning, before Salustri and Kyra Naftel '19 each registered bunt singles to load the bases. Duncan then induced a double play before issuing back-to-back walks to Alena Marovitz '17 and Julia Turner '19 to drive in the first run of the game. A line out to third base ended the inning with the Mammoths ahead, 1-0.
Pagan and Duncan tossed back-to-back 1-2-3 innings before Williams once again loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the fourth. A pair of line outs to second and left field kept the Ephs off the scoreboard after four stanzas of play.
Williams took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Brenna Martinez delivered an RBI single, while a wild pitch allowed Margo Beck to score from third. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Riley Salvo plated Williams' third run of the inning to give the Ephs a 3-1 lead.
After Williams tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to an RBI double off the bat of Duncan, Amherst struck back when Annie Murphy '20 notched a leadoff single to left field and then advanced to third when Tuiskula reached on an infield hit giving the Mammoths two runners in scoring position. From there, Mackenzie Murphy was able to retire the next three batters to seal the win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Pagan (23-6) allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out two batters in the losing effort, while Lorena Ukanwa '19 tossed an inning of relief and allowed one run on two hits and struck out one batter.
- Salustri notched two of Amherst's six hits in the loss and scored the team's lone run, while Marovitz ripped the only extra-base hit of the contest for the Mammoths.
- Jessica Kim and Duncan collected two hits each for Williams, while starting pitcher Duncan tossed 4.2 innings and allowed one run (unearned) on three hits and fanned three batters in 4.2 innings of work. Murphy (14-4) got the win in the circle striking out one in 2.1 innings of work.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Amherst concluded its superb season 34-12 overall, just two wins shy of tying the program's single-season record of 36 wins (2012).
- The Mammoths, who won the program's first-ever Regional and Super Regional title during their NCAA Championship run move to 11-8 overall in national post season games.
- Williams has now won five of six meetings with Amherst this season.
NCAA Division III Softball Championship All-Tournament Team
Catherine Porter, Catcher, Trine
Sammie Galvez, Catcher, St. Catherine
Sam Berghoff, Shortstop, Illinois Wesleyan
Alena Marovitz, First Base, Amherst
Rebecca Duncan, Utility, Williams
Kaylee Prather, Outfield, Texas-Tyler
Cheyenne Thompson, Outfield, Texas-Tyler
Lindsey Thayer, Pitcher, St. John Fisher
Sarah Kubik, First Base, St. John Fisher
Madison Glaubke, Outfield, Virginia Wesleyan
Cassetty Howerin, First Base, Virginia Wesleyan
Courtney Wright, Pitcher, Virginia Wesleyan
Most Outstanding Player – Hanna Hull, Pitcher, Virginia Wesleyan