WESTFIELD, Mass. - Alexis Blanchette's first career home run provided the Keene State College softball team a seventh-inning lead in the second of two games at Westfield State University, and eventually helped give Molly St. Germain a win in the final game of her career, as KSC prevailed 3-2 on Monday afternoon at WSU Softball Field. Westfield State won the opener 7-4.
- Keene State: 13-21
- Westfield State: 12-24
How It Happened - Game One
Keene State scored four runs in the fifth to erase a 3-0 deficit and take the lead for the first time in the game, but a single run in the bottom of the fifth and three in the sixth helped Westfield hit back for a 7-4 win. Molly St. Germain went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI to lead the KSC offense, while Cassie Woods, Brooke Arruda, Courtney Votto, and Alexis Blanchette all had a pair of hits. The Owls had 13 hits in all, but left 10 people on base. Westfield State got two hits and two runs batted in from Colleen Hughes.
The Massachusetts version of the Owls struck quickly, scoring three times in the first against Olivia McGrath when Hughes doubled to left center, scoring two with two down. The next batter, Jordyn Carptenter, made it a 3-0 lead for the home team after bouncing a single into left. It stayed that way for a while, as McGrath settled down, putting up three consecutive zeroes, but KSC could not break through against Emily Arredondo despite several chances, including a bases-loaded opportunity in the second. Woods worked a walk to start the third and St. Germain followed with an infield single to put the first two on, but a fielder's choice and a fly ball to right that turned into a double play foiled that rally as it remained 3-0. Keene State finally broke through in the fifth with a four run, six hit outburst. Pinch-hitter Katelyn Hill started the inning with a double and the red-hot Woods followed with a single. St. Germain then scored both with a double down the right field line before scoring herself on Emma Pede's ground out, tying the game at three. KSC went ahead after three more consecutive singles, the last of which from Blanchette delivered a 4-3 lead. Westfield tied the game in their half of the same inning with a two-out run and surged back into the lead in the sixth after Bri Tortora's infield single and Kaitlynn Prophet's two-RBI base hit made it 7-4. Keene State generated one final rally in the top of the seventh, bringing the tying run to the plate with two down, but a grounder back to the pitcher Arredondo (7-10) ended the game.
St. Germain (6-12) entered in the fifth and took the loss, allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits while striking out three. Arredondo allowed 13 hits and did not strike anybody out, but picked up the win.
How It Happened - Game Two
In a back-and-forth second game, Blanchette's home run in the top of the seventh proved to be the difference as KSC wrapped up their season with a one-run win. Blanchette was the lone Owl with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-2, while she, Hill, and Kat Iozzo each drove in a run. St. Germain authored a strong bounce-back relief appearance, earning the win with three scoreless innings.
After Keene State left five on base in the opening three innings, Westfield edged out in front after Kayla Soucie singled, moved to second on a ground out, and stole third before scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third. What followed was a see-saw battle, as KSC tied the game on Kat Iozzo's double in the fourth that scored Meghan Moran, who reached on an error, only to see WSU go back ahead 2-1 after four. Keene State came back immediately, tying the game in the top of the fifth after Pede singled and eventually scored on Hill's fielder's choice ground ball. Westfield nearly went ahead once more in their half of the inning, as they put runners on first and second with one out thanks to a single and an error, but St. Germain got out of it and allowed just one hit over the final two frames. Her relief work was rewarded when Blanchette connected for her first career home run, a shot to center, in the top of the seventh that put Keene State up 3-2. St. Germain worked around a two-out single in the seventh to seal the Owls' season-closing win, her seventh of the season. She allowed two hits and struck out two in the final three innings. Brenna Welch (0-8) tossed the final six innings for Westfield, allowing six hits and three runs (one earned).
Around the Horn
- St. Germain surpassed 100 hits in her career at the plate today, including a career single-season best 35 this season, and will finish her career in the circle with a 2.89 ERA, 32 wins, and 332 strikeouts in 470 innings (93 appearances). The 32 victories are tied for eighth most on the all-time KSC list, while her appearances are fourth most, her innings pitched are third most, and her strikeouts are comfortably sixth most.
- The careers of Votto and Julie Elwell also come to a close. Votto hit .316 over her Owl career, including .353 in 33 games this year where she also had a pair of home runs and drove in 17, both career bests. Elwell finishes her time at KSC with 27 hits in 86 at bats, hitting .314 with a .366 on-base percentage.
- Woods finishes her campaign with the best batting average in the league (.435) and highest on-base percentage (.551) among qualified players.
- KSC is 35-6 all-time against Westfield.
- Keene State sees their season come to an end, as the Owls did not get the necessary result needed to make the Little East Conference tournament after Western Connecticut State University defeated UMass Dartmouth 5-0 in the first game of their doubleheader.
- Westfield begins MASCAC tournament play on Wednesday at home against Worcester State University at 3:30 pm.