Owls Upset Top Seeded Cortland; Fall to SUNY Plattsburgh in the NCAA Regional Finals
AMHERST, Mass. 5/13/12 – Keene State upended top-seeded Cortland for the second time in as many days, advancing to the 2012 Amherst, Mass. Softball Regional Championship game with a 6-1 victory over the Red Dragons in the morning session. In the night-cap, the Owls Cinderella Championship run came to an end, falling to regional champions SUNY Plattsburgh, 6-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Senior Emily Albin (Bethel, Conn.) went the distance in the win, scattering seven hits, without allowing an earned run. Cortland starter Lyndsay Rowell lasted just 1.2 innings in the loss, surrendering three runs (none earned) on two hits. Abby Martin and Morgan Kuhn combined for 5.1 innings in relief, allowing three runs on four hits.
Senior Sara Stocklinski (Newton, N.J.) paced an Owl lineup that recorded six hits, going 2-for-4, while Katie Bradford (Lebanon, N.H.) and Jessica Fiorenza (Wakefield, Mass.) each added a hit and a RBI.
Looking to stake Keene to an early lead, Haley Chandler (Wakefield, Mass.) led off the game with a single back up the middle before stealing second to put the Owls' first runner in scoring position. Moving to third on a grounder to short, the senior alertly came home on a Cortland error to give Keene a 1-0 edge.
With the Owls' plating two more runs in the top of the second on a Fiorenza double and another Red Dragon miscue, Cortland looked to string something together in the bottom of the third. Gallo got the rally started with a single down the right field line, before a Meola base-knock put runners on second and third with nobody out.
Stoddard followed with an RBI single to left before Albin struck out Martin for the inning's first out. After Meaghan Kohler lifted a fly ball to right that allowed Meola to tag up to third, Albin bore down, getting Kayla Lynch to hit a dribbler to first, ending the Cortland threat.
With the Red Dragons getting on the board in the third thanks to a Stoddard, one-out, RBI single, Bradford belted a solo shot to left, putting the Owls back up by three. Tacking on two more runs on consecutive Red Dragon errors in the sixth, Keene looked to Albin to shut the door and the senior responded, allowing just one hit in the final two innings to seal the win.
In game two, the Owls hung tough with the undefeated Cardinals. Stocklinski took the mound for the KSC, who would have needed two victories for the regional championship. Stocklinski went five and two-thirds innings, allowing six hits and allowing only two earned runs, while striking out four.
Ashley Marshall went the distance to improve to 25-4 on the year. Marshall allowed one run on five hits and struck out six.
In the bottom half of the first inning, Keene State (28-12-1) loaded the bases with two outs, but Plattsburgh starter Ashley Marshall fanned Samantha Nitso (Londonderry, N.H.) to work out of the jam.
Dana Mandery reached on a fielder's choice followed by an infield single by Megan Price put runners on the corners with two outs in the top of the second inning. The Cardinals got a break when the Owls threw the ball away on a steal attempt, allowing two runs to score.
Errors continued to plague Keene State in the third inning. Michelle Iannone reached on an error to put two on with two outs for the Cardinals. Brianna Clarke came around to score on a throwing error by Owls' third baseman Ellissa Coburn (Claremont, N.H.), putting Plattsburgh up by three.
Keene State's Haley Chandler drilled a ball off the right field, legging out a triple in the bottom of the fifth. Owls' pitcher Sara Stocklinski helped her own cause with a two-out single up the middle, bringing home Keene State's first run and cutting the Cardinal lead to 3-1.
A single and a pair of walks left the bases full of Cardinals in the top of the sixth, setting the stage for Clarke, who brought them all home with a double to right center to give the Cardinals a 6-1 lead.
Two Owls were named to the All-Tournament Team. Bradford and junior catcher Nicole Dupuis (Fitchburg, Mass.) earned all-tournament honors.
Amherst (Mass.) Regional All-Tournament Team
OF – Emily Leverone (St. Joseph's College)
OF – Jill Hart (Keuka College)
OF – Kaitlin Silkowitz (Amherst College)
IF – Victoria Overlock (Husson University)
IF – Katie Bradford (Keene State College)
IF – Brianna Clarke (SUNY Plattsburgh)
IF – Brittany Marshall (SUNY Plattsburgh)
C – Ashley Gott (University of New England)
C – Nicole Dupuis (Keene State College)
DP – Abby Martin (SUNY Cortland)
DP – Samantha Capobianco (SUNY Plattsburgh)
P – Morgan Kuhn (SUNY Cortland)
Most Outstanding Player: Ashley Marshall (P – SUNY Plattsburgh)