Softball clinches NE10 berth
Morgan Douglas – Sports Editor
After what has been an up and down season overall, Owls’ softball clinched a postseason berth in the form of a spot in the NE10 Conference tournament.
Fittingly, the Owls clinched with a win in their final game of the season, at home on Senior Day, with a 7-0 win over the St. Anselm College Hawks in the second game of a doubleheader this past Saturday to cap an interesting weekend of softball for the Owls.
This past Friday, the Owls’ hosted the Southern New Hampshire University Penmen for an afternoon doubleheader.
Things were looking bleak for the Owls in game one, as they trailed 5-2 with their last chance coming in the bottom of the seventh inning, but they rallied.
Catcher Jacqueline Dumont, a senior, drove in the first run, then later in the inning, down to their final out, starting pitcher Jessica Perucki, a junior, hit a game-tying two-run double to right field.
“There were two outs,” Perucki said. “I’ve got to get on base any way I can and that’s what happened.”
Game one would go to extra innings tied at five, and Perucki would remain on the mound.
“My off-speed was really working well today and my screwball was doing really good today,” Perucki said. “They are a pretty good hitting team, probably one of the best in the conference, and I really just thought about moving the ball around and trying to keep them off-balance, not knowing where I’m going to throw the ball next.”
The Owls won game one in the bottom of the ninth after a sacrifice fly from infielder Kat Roy, a sophomore, for a final score of 6-5.
Game two was another tightly contested ballgame which led to extra innings.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Penmen scored twice to take a10-9 lead, and it would once again be up to the Owls offense for more late-game heroics.
To lead off the inning, on the first pitch no less, Dumont hit a clutch home run to left field to tie the score at 10 and was mobbed by her ecstatic teammates at home plate with a big smile on her face.
“I went up to bat, was just ready to make a big play. Do something big for this team, came through,” Dumont said. “Got to have that home run swing all the time. I was fired up. Ready to win this game, take two from them today. I was ready to sweep them.”
A sweep looked unlikely in the top of the eighth inning, however. The Penmen loaded the bases with nobody out and things were looking bleak.
Then the Penmen hit a groundball to shortstop and the Owls got the force out at home plate, and then again, another groundball to short, another force at the plate, and quickly there are two outs, and the Owls are almost out of a major jam.
They made the final out on a close play at third base, and suddenly the momentum was going all in the Owls’ direction.
“It was so exciting.” right fielder Liz DeRosa, a senior, said. “I was nervous. I was biting my fingernails. But we just rely on each other to make those plays and at the end of the day, they will, so it’s all that matters.”
DeRosa had three runs batted in during game two.
After the Owls failed to score in the bottom of the eighth inning, it was getting too dark, and the game was called off, ending in a 10-10 tie, a rarity in the sport.
Two games going to extra innings on a field without lights can lead to results like this, but the Owls got back on track the next day when they clinched their spot in the conference tournament.
The Owls will play the Pace University Setters on the road in the first round on Tuesday, May 3.
“It’s that time of year when you’re in the swing of things and the heat’s on,” Dumont said. “We’ve just got to come out on top and know that they’re not going to beat us.”