As No. 1 seed, Warriors will host tournament beginning Thursday
Above: Seniors Christine Akcer (42), Kelly Paterson (9), Arielle Cooper (15) and Katie Sokoloski (16) were honored on Seniors' Day Saturday. (Photo by Courtney Weber).
At left: Shannon Martin gave up only one run on four hits in two relief appearances Saturday against Keene State.
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Freshman Alyssa Hancock's (Waterford) suicide squeeze bunt allowed Megan Godwin (Manchester) to score the go-ahead run from third base in the bottom of the sixth inning, and freshman Taylor Smyth (Meriden) socked a three-run home run later in the frame to propel the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team to a 10-6 Little East Conference victory over Keene State College and a split of Saturday's doubleheader at the Eastern Softball Field. Keene won the opener, 2-1.
Western Connecticut State University's win over Plymouth State University in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday - prior to Eastern's second-game win -- guaranteed Eastern (25-11, 11-3) of the No. 1 seed in the LEC tournament, which runs Thursday through Saturday at the Eastern Softball Field. Eastern plays No. 6 seed Massachusetts Boston at noon in the first of four games on the first day. The double-elimination tournament includes six teams. The Warriors are three-time defending champions.
After Keene (21-14, 8-6 LEC) handed the Warriors their first home loss in 11 games in the opener - snapping a seven-game losing streak at the hands of Eastern - the Warriors dug out of an early 5-1 hole in the nightcap by scoring five times in the fourth. Keene tied the game with a run in the sixth before Eastern answered with four in the sixth on three hits, two walks and Hancock's suicide squeeze.
At left: Arielle Cooper and Katie Sokoloski were presented the 2013 Jeffrey W. Anderson Memorial Award between games of Saturday's doubleheader. At left is Keith Anderson, brother of the late Jeff Anderson, and at right is head coach Diana Pepin. (Photo by Courtney Weber).
Sam Rossetti (Shelton) and Godwin each drove in two runs in the second game. Rossetti had a two-run single in the fie-run fourth and Godwin singled in Eastern's first run in the bottom of the first after Keene had scored three times in its first at-bat, and also singled in the final run of the five-run fourth.
No. 3 hitter Jessica Fiorenza had four of Keene's ten hits - all singles -- in the second game. She scored the final run of the three-run first and added run-proudcing singles in the second and fourth.
Erin Miller (Waterford) won her fourth straight decision and tenth in 12 decisions this year for Eastern in the nightcap. Miller returned to start the third inning - and went the rest of the way --after being driven from the mound with two out in Keene's three-run first inning.
Batting .352 as a team, Eastern managed only four singles off Keene freshman Mariah Crisp in the first game. The Owls, who will open the LEC tournament at 4 p.m. against No. 3 Western Connecticut State University as the No. 4 seed, scored runs in the first and second innings in support of Crisp (17-3). Crisp did not allow a hit and only one baserunner through three innings. She fanned seven and walked one, allowing Eastern's run in the fifth on Shannon Martin's (Wethersfield) RBI single.
Sara Bracken's one-out double and No. 4 hitter Meryl Ragaini's two-out single gave the Owls a 1-0 lead in the first, and freshman leadoff hitter Stephanie Long's RBI single made it 2-0 in the second and spelled the end of the day for Eastern starter Christine Akcer (Milford).