Down to Last Strike, Softball Storms Back for Twinbill Sweep

Kelly Johnson

Game #1 - WPI 5, Anna Maria 2
Game #2 - WPI 5, Anna Maria 3 (8 inn.)

Game #1 Box Score
Game #2 Box Score

Worcester, MA --- Down to its final out and trailing 3-2, WPI used three consecutive seventh-inning singles to send the game into extra innings and delivered another rally in the eighth to finish off a 5-3 comeback win and complete a doubleheader sweep of Anna Maria on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers defeated the AMCATS 5-2 in game one of the double-dip, which was played at WPI due to poor early-season wet field conditions in Paxton. The wins give WPI an 8-2 record on the season, while Anna Maria fell to 2-10.

All three batters that delivered the key hits to tie the game had been down to their last strike before coming through. Senior Kelly Johnson (Buxton, ME) kept the Engineers alive in game two with a two-out single up the middle, followed by a Kim Martilla (Kings Park, NY) base hit that moved her to second. Fellow senior Meg Foley (Belchertown, MA) completed the comeback with the third straight single to center, chasing Johnson home with WPI's third run and sending the game into extras.

With new life, WPI took its first lead in the top of the eighth. The Engineers had runners on second and third with one out in the inning and would take the lead on catcher Erin Beaulieu's (Bethany, CT) single to right-center. Allie Roche (Chelmsford, MA) followed Beaulieu with another RBI base hit that gave the Crimson and Gray a key insurance run for a 5-3 advantage.

Katherine Fitton (Lebanon, CT) closed the door with a 1-2-3 eighth inning for her second save of the season. Starter Erin Flaherty (Stoughton, MA) allowed single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings but pitched well-enough to win her third game of the year (3-1). Flaherty went seven innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out three.

Anna Maria had jumped out to 2-0 lead on a bases loaded walk by Alyssa Boykin in the first and a Becky Mercurio RBI single in the fourth.  WPI leveled the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth on a two-run single by Johnson before the AMCATS regained the advantage on a Mary Morosk run-producing double in the bottom of the frame.

Johnson was 2-for-3 in game two, while Roche and Foley each posted a 2-for-4 line.  Sarah Boyda and Morosk both tallied multiple hits for the AMCATS, who received a strong complete game pitching effort from Nicole Hackenson.

In the opener, Johnson blasted a crucial three-run home run as part of a 4-for-4 effort, powering WPI to a 5-2 triumph. The senior had six hits combined on the afternoon.

Following a scoreless first inning, the Engineers broke through for four in the second to take charge. After a Beaulieu single and back-to-back doubles from Roche and Martilla, Johnson provided the key hit in the inning, a three-run bomb that staked starter Allie Hardy (West Townsend, MA) to a four-run lead. The Engineers continued to thrive on the long-ball in the opener, as Fitton launched a solo shot in the third for a 5-0 WPI advantage.

The AMCATS reached Hardy for single runs in the fifth and sixth, including a RBI single by Boyda and a home run from Jill Hurley, but the sophomore hung onto the lead en route to her second win of the season. Hardy went five plus innings in game one, allowing the two runs (one earned) on nine hits to improve to 2-1 in 2010. She struck out four Anna Maria batters over that span and allowed no walks. Flaherty came on to close out the AMCATS by pitching a scoreless final two innings. The sophomore pitcher allowed one hit while walking two and striking out two in relief before tossing seven innings in the day's second game.

WPI Softball will continue its road slate next week with a contest at Amherst on Wednesday and a NEWMAC doubleheader at Springfield on Friday before returning home for the team's official home opener on Saturday March 27th vs. Smith.  Anna Maria is back in action on Tuesday, traveling to Worcester State for a 5pm doubleheader.