FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Southwest Division's Top Two Seeds to Meet in Saturday's Championship Game
Adelphi needed extra innings, while Pace got a dominant peformance in the circle to advance to the Championship Game of the 2018 Northeast-10 Conference Softball Championship. Here's how Friday's action played out in Garden City -
#1 SW Adelphi 5, #2 NE Southern New Hampshire 4
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - For the fourth time in six years, Adelphi will play for a Northeast-10 Championship, and the heroics of Kailah Konkel got them there.
The sophomore shortstop drove in a career-best three runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth inning, to help put the defending champions back in the title game, 5-4, over second-seeded team out of the Northeast Division, Southern New Hampshire in Friday's semifinals.
The Panthers (29-19-1) will face Pace (27-19) in the championship game on Janet L. Ficke Field at Adelphi University on Saturday at noon. The Setters, the second seeds out of the Southwest, upset Northeast champion Saint Anselm in Sautrday's second semifinal, 2-0. The Panthers took two of three game against the Setters in the regular season, which included a home sweep on April 17, 3-2 and 7-0.
With Adelphi trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Konkel snapped an 0-for-29 skid at the plate dating back exactly a month with a two-run blast against SNHU's Maddy Barone, pulling Adelphi to within one at 3-2.
Later, with the game tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth and Nicole Camera on second after reaching on a fielder's choice and stealing second base, Konkel legged out a two-out infield single which saw Camera come around to score the game-winning run.
Adelphi took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, as a one-out single for Krista King led to the game-tying run. Brenna Martini, voted the NE10 Player of the Year for a third straight year earlier this week, smoked an RBI single to right center to tie the game at 3-3, before her classmate Camera chased home pinch-runner Kristin Fealy with a go-ahead double.
The Penmen, however, responded immediately in the top of the sixth with some small ball, as two infield singles against Jessica Vadala led to the game-tying run at 4. While Konkel's bat powered the comeback, Vadala's arm did help it along. The junior threw 5.1 innings of one-run softball in relief of Ally Muller, entering the game in the third inning to pick up her fifth win of the season. Vadala scattered five hits and one run and striking out one.
#2 SW Pace 2, #1 NE Saint Anselm 0
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – Turning to their ace Emma Bernet for a third-straight start in the circle, Pace defeated No. 24 Saint Anselm in the semifinals of the NE10 Championship on Friday afternoon, 2-0. The victory, Pace's 11th-straight, sends the Setters back to the NE10 Championship game for the second time in the last three seasons. Tasked with a start against the top seed from the Northeast Division, Bernet held the second-highest scoring offense in the NE10 scoreless to lead Pace into the title game. The Setters will take on top-seeded Adelphi tomorrow at noon.
Bernet proved once again to be one of the league's premier arms, tossing her sixth-straight complete game. The sophomore needed just 78 pitches to close out the contest and earn her 15th win of the season. Allowing five hits and two walks while striking out two, Bernet picked up right where she left off the last time she saw the Saint Anselm lineup. Bernet threw four scoreless innings against the Hawks in relief back on March 25.
The Hawks threatened early, tagging Bernet for two hits in the first inning. Facing runners at second and third with just one out, the sophomore induced two infield pop ups to escape the jam and keep Saint Anselm off the board.
From there, it was five innings of two-hit ball from Bernet in the circle. The Setters, however, were held in check by Saint Anselm's Morgan Perry through the first three innings. Doubles from Aby Brambila and Ashley Lew looked to have Pace set up to do damage in the second and third innings, but Perry matched Bernet's tightrope act to head into the fourth scoreless.
The Setter offense could only be contained for so long before putting together a two-out rally in the fourth to score a pair of runs. With Brambila on second and Lindsey Ah Soon occupying first, Emma Schafer singled up the middle to bring home the Pace catcher. Lew would score Ah Soon with a single of her own to spot the Setters a 2-0 lead.
With the pitching staffs continuing to limit the offense, Pace was set to blow the game open in the seventh. The Setters loaded the bases on a Hawk error and singles by Lew and Larissa Labs with no outs. Saint Anselm's Courtney Fisher was able to escape the situation unscathed, stranding the bases loaded and sending the game to the bottom of the seventh with the Setters holding on to a two-run lead.
The Hawks would get the tying run to the plate following a two-out single from Lauren Washburn, but Bernet got Shannon McLaughlin to pop up in foul territory to punch Pace's ticket to a title matchup with Adelphi on Saturday.
2018 NE10 Softball Championship Schedule
Tuesday, May 1st
Game 1: #3 NE Merrimack 2, #4 NE Assumption 0
Game 2: #4 SW New Haven 5, #3 SW Le Moyne 2
Thursday, May 3rd, Friday, May 4th and Saturday, May 5th
Championship Weekend (to be hosted by Adelphi, #1 seed, Southwest Division)
Thursday, May 3rd
Game 3: #2 SW Pace 3, #3 NE Merrimack 1
Game 4: #2 NE Southern New Hampshire 6, #4 SW New Haven 2
Friday, May 4th
Game 5: #1 SW Adelphi 5, #2 NE Southern New Hampshire 4, Final - 8 Inn.
Game 6: #2 SW Pace 2, #1 NE Saint Anselm 0
Saturday, May 5th
Game 7: #1 SW Adelphi vs. #2 SW Pace | 12:00 PM
- Information for this release provided by the athletic communications staffs at Adelphi and Pace
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