All-America and national champ helped all of her teams into NCAAs
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - One of only two Eastern Connecticut State University female athletes in school history to play key roles in advancing two sports to the final stop of NCAA Division III tournaments, Kristine Mach has been selected for induction into the Eastern Connecticut State University E-Club Hall of Fame, it has been announced by selection committee chairman Scott Smith.
Unrecruited out of Southington High School, Mach was a first baseman on four straight NCAA Division III regional tournament championship teams at Eastern between 1988 and 1991 and a post player in her two seasons (1989/90 and 1990/91) with the basketball team. She was a starter on the program's last national softball championship team as a junior in 1990, and on the first women's basketball team to advance to the NCAA Division III Final Four as a senior.
The 20th E-Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 19 at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. A reception will follow the 5 p.m. ceremony. Tickets are priced at $50 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In her 120-game softball career, the two-sport captain batted .356 with a .984 fielding percentage on teams which won 139 of 173 games (.803). In 53 career basketball games (47 starts), Mach averaged 8.5 points and 8.0 rebounds and nearly 2.0 steals per game.
With all of 18 at-bats to her credit through her first two seasons, the Southington native stepped into a starting role on the 1990 national softball championship team, batting .348 with a .984 fielding percentage on a team-high 190 chances. In her final at-bat of the season in the national championship game against Trenton State College (the team's third game of the day), Dawn Walmsley was doubled to third base by Mach in the fifth inning, and eventually scored the only run of the game on a sacrifice fly. With two out in the seventh, Mach then gloved the clinching final out on a throw from shortstop Brigitte Raczkowski.
Moving into the No. 3 spot in the order as a senior in 1991, Mach batted a team-high .377 and also led the club in slugging and on-base percentage, runs, hits, doubles and total bases on the way to second-team NFCA All-America and first-team All-Northeast Region and All-England recognition.
The right-handed hitter hit safely in 28 of the team's final 32 games and in ten of 11 post-season games as a senior. In post-season play, she handled 94 defensive chances without an error and recorded a .369 average. In six games of the national tournament which was hosted at Eastern's Howard Spector Field, Mach batted .389 and fielded 46 chances en route to all-tournament honors as the Warriors reached the national championship round for the third straight year.
Mach tried out for the Eastern basketball team during the Christmas holidays as a freshman, but was derailed by stress fractures. As a junior, the 5-foot-10 inch Mach tried again, and immediately stepped into a regular role in the post beside All-America and Eastern Hall of Famer Robin Gaby. The Warriors reached the Little East Conference tournament title game (losing in overtime), but qualified for the NCAA tournament and concluded the season with a win in the consolation game of the NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament.
With a year under her belt, Mach was an integral part of perhaps the finest starting five in program history as a senior in 1990/91 (she becomes the fourth E-Club Hall of Famer from that starting unit). She started every game - averaging 33.8 minutes per game - and helped the program to its first berth in the NCAA Final Four. In the Northeast Sectional Tournament at home, Mach totaled 30 points, 23 rebounds (14 of them offensive), four assists and four steals in 75 minutes, shot .565 from the floor, and was named to the all-tournament team.
As she did with her clutch double in the national softball title game the previous spring and in her high school team's state title victory in her senior year (when she returned an offensive rebound at the buzzer for the winning points), Mach again made her biggest contribution when it mattered most - in the final seconds of the one-point sectional basketball championship game win over Southern Maine. After USM missed the front end of a potential game-winning one-and-one free throw situation with eight seconds left, Eastern rebounded. The wayward outlet pass sailed untouched over midcourt, but Mach chased it down, lunging to keep the ball inbounds, where Hall of Fame teammate Missy Kowolenko gathered it in, then hoisted it toward the rafters as the final horn sounded to preserve the team's first trip to the Final Four.
Mach holds a B.S. Degree in Communication and resides in her hometown. She is employed as a Communications Director by MedServe of Connecticut, Inc.