Today: Apr 21, 2024

Owls bounced from NE-10

Sean Meenaghan -- Photo Editor
Brittany Bucko (right) went 3-11 with three runs scored and one RBI. Kate Hoffman (right) hit a homerun in the Owls elimination game.

Ryan Flynn — General Assignment Repor

The 36-8 Owls softball team, defending back-to-back champs of the Northeast-10 tournament, once again entered the tournament as the top overall seed. However, the team would last just three games this year. After a thrilling 4-3 extra inning win over Stonehill, the Owls fell 1-2 to LeMoyne and 8-5 against Assumption, eliminating them from the tournament.
In the opening game of the NE-10 tournament, at home against Stonehill, the Owls took an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Brittany Bucko double to left and an Alyssa Downs 2-out RBI single. After Stonehill tied things up in the 3rd, Bucko would hit a homerun to left center to give Southern the lead.
Winds gusting in were an issue all day for the Owls, who hit several deep fly’s that would likely have gone out if not for the strong wind.
“I knew the wind blowing in today wasn’t going to really play into our game,” head coach Lisa Barbaro said. “We’re obviously more of a power team, we lift a lot of balls.”
In the top of the seventh, just three outs from victory, Southern ace Jayme Larson, a senior, was unable to close the deal. She gave up both the tying and go-ahead run and just like that Southern found themselves on the brink of elimination.
That is, until the bottom of the inning, when a Stacy Pouliot fly ball was dropped, setting up a triple for the junior. One Julie Muscarella sacrifice fly later, and the Owls were headed for extras.
“We’re all about fighting to the end,” senior outfielder Alyssa Pagano said. “We won’t give up.”
Larson, the starting pitcher, embodied this sentiment. She remained in the game, settling down as the back-and-forth affair remained a stalemate throughout the eighth and ninth innings.
“I never want to lose,” Larson said, “and when they started hitting me in the seventh inning and I gave up the couple runs to get it tied and make us go into extra innings I just knew that I had to get tough, I had to be tougher than I ever have and that’s what pushed through those last three innings.”
Bucko walked to open the 10th, advancing to third on a sac bunt and a wild pitch. Two more walks, one intentional, left Kate Hoffman facing a bases loaded situation. The second baseman was unable to put a bat on the ball and Southern now had two outs.
This set up one of the great moments of the season. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the tenth, Designated Hitter Jessica Rosa stepped up to the plate. She was 0-3 so far on the day.
“My mindset was, we have to battle it out and we have to fight because there’s no other way to get it done,” Rosa said. “So, I was just ready to battle.”
Rosa did just that, fighting three pitches off foul while taking two balls. At 2-2, Rosa found a pitch she liked, snapping through the left side for the game-winning ground ball hit.
The thrilling 4-3 victory was short-lived, however. After losing their semifinal game 2-1 to LeMoyne, the Owls failed to outscore Assumption in their NE-10 elimination game, despite a two-homerun outing from Rosa.

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