Blue Softball Ends Season With NEWMAC Tournament Setback To WPI

(Julia Monaco '19)
(Julia Monaco '19)

WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Ama Biney (Worcester, Mass.) and first year Cassie Graca (Somerset, Mass.) launched back-to-back home runs to open the bottom of the first, as No. 1 WPI went on to defeat No. 6 Wellesley, 14-1, in five innings on day two of the 2017 New England Women's & Mens's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Softball Championship on Saturday at WPI's Rooftop Field.

WPI improved to 28-12 with the victory and advanced to play No. 3 Wheaton in an elimination game later on Saturday. Wellesley's season comes to an end of an 18-12 overall record after posting a 1-2 mark in the conference tournament. 

Sophomore Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, N.H.) and senior Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, Conn.) all finished 3-for-3 at the dish for WPI, while junior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, Mass.) gave up just three hits in the first four innings to earn the win. Graca finished 3-for-4, with a home run and two runs scored. Biney also scored a pair of runs. 

Wellesley senior Kendra Coleman (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and junior Amanda Manning (Chico, Calif.) hit back-to-back doubles in the top of the third to score a run, but the Blue could do little on offense, as first year Kalei Oliver (Vista, Calif.) registered the only other Wellesley hit with a two-out single in the top of the second. 

After Biney and Graca gave the Engineers the 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, LeClaire scored on a miscue put into play by senior Lindsay Gurska (Revere, Mass.). Senior Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, R.I.) then brought junior RiAnna May (Westminster, Colo.) in to score with an RBI ground out to make the score 4-0. 

The second inning began with a two-RBI single by LeClaire before she scampered home on a wild pitch. Gallagher and Shevchuk added RBI knocks for the 9-0 lead after two, before WPI added three more in the third thanks to a two-run single by Gurska and a run-producing double by Gallagher in back-to-back at-bats. LeClaire sent a sacrifice fly to center and Graca came home on a miscue put into action by May in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, N.J.) induced a trio of groundouts to close out the game. 

Wellesley finishes the 2017 season, the 13th under the direction of Head Coach Keri O'Meara, with an 18-12 overall record.