Softball Survives and Advances Twice to Stay Alive in NEWMAC Championship

Caraline Wood

NEWMAC Championship Game 7 - WPI 8, Coast Guard 3

Cambridge, MA --- Senior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) scored her 200th run and classmate senior Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) moved into a tie for second all-time in Division III with her 173rd stolen base as second-seeded WPI advanced in the 2018 NEWMAC Softball Championship with an 8-3 triumph over fifth-seeded Coast Guard in Game 7 Friday at Briggs Field.

The Engineers (29-12) now await the result the next game between top-seeded MIT and third-seeded Babson to see who they face at noon tomorrow. WPI will need to defeat both teams Saturday to force the winner-take-all 'if necessary' game, which is slated for Sunday at 1pm.

Biney began the home half of the first with a triple and reached the milestone following a single by Murphy-Cook. Junior Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) then plated Murphy-Cook with a triple and promptly scored on an RBI ground out by junior Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH). Senior Katie Chagami (Waipahu, HI) began a three-run second with a productive ground out. Biney followed with an RBI double to left center and later crossed the plate courtesy of a miscue.

Sophomore Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) tripled and classmate Leila Camplese (Tewksbury, MA) singled in consecutive at-bats to make it 8-0 after three.

Coast Guard sophomore Courtney McKenna (Sparta, NJ) ended freshman Nicole Kuberka's (Los Angeles, CA) no-hit bid with a double to begin the fourth. McKenna then scored on an infield miscue to break up the shutout. The Bears added two more to their total when sophomores Carly Hattman (Egg Harbor, NJ) stole home and Audrey Bartz (Arlington,VA) drove in McKenna with a single to left in the top of the fifth.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Murphy-Cook drew a walk and swiped second to tie Courtney Bogan (2013-16) from Virginia Wesleyan. The record of 176 is currently owned by Erin Pagel (2003-05) from Suffolk.

Biney and Wood each recorded a double and triple while Murphy-Cook collected a pair of singles. Graca also tripled for the Engineers. Kuberka scattered four hits and two walks and struck out three in 6 1/3 as freshman Katie Martin (Bedford, NH) was in the circle for two of the three outs in the top of the fifth.

McKenna and Bartz each registered an extra-base hit while sophomore Julia Ferris (Falls Church, VA) struck out three in 4 2/3 innings of relief for Coast Guard.

The Bears conclude the season with a 22-13 ledger.


NEWMAC Championship Game 6 - WPI 3, Springfield 2

Cambridge, MA --- Sophomore Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) provided the go-ahead two-run single to lift second-seeded WPI to a 3-2 triumph over fourth-seeded Springfield Friday afternoon in Game 6 of the NEWMAC Softball Championship at MIT's Briggs Field.

The Engineers (28-12), who are fourth in the NCAA regional rankings, will now face fifth-seeded Coast Guard shortly. The Pride (26-13), ninth in the same rankings, now await a potential NCAA at-large bid.

After fouling off the first two pitches of the game, Springfield senior Carianna Gasida (Wakefield, MA) poked a single through the right side. She then stole second and advanced to third on a miscue before scoring on a rare RBI sac fly foul out by sophomore Yaixsa Vargas (Waterbury, CT) for the 1-0 advantage. Senior Talia Loda (East Haven, CT) then struck out the first two batters in a 1-2-3 frame. The Engineers also went down in order in the third.

WPI did not allow a runner to reach in the top of the fourth and swung the scoreboard in its favor with three in the home half of the stanza. Junior Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) began the uprising by chasing home senior Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) with a single through the left side. Four batters later, Graca plated two with a first-pitch hit to left.

Springfield left two runners on the rest of the way including one in scoring position in the seventh.

Senior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA) yielded one earned run on three hits and three walks through the first four innings. Freshman Nicole Kuberka (Los Angeles, CA) did not give up a run on three hits and struck out one without issuing a walk. Loda was charged with two earned runs on four hits and one walk while striking out five for Springfield.