SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Second seeded University of New England and No. 6 seed Nichols both earned wins on Wednesday (May 1) on the first day of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Softball Championship Tournament. Both teams will continue on in the winner's bracket tomorrow.
In a proactive move to try and fit as many games in as possible around a poor weather forecast, two games originally scheduled to be played on Thursday, May 2 were moved to Wednesday.
In one game UNE bested No. 7 seed Gordon, 6-0, riding the arm of Sydnee Bessler (Everett, Mass.) who threw a no-hitter. In the other game the sixth seeded Bison went on the road and defeated No. 3 seed Western New England, 5-1.
All four teams return to the University of New England tomorrow. The two winners, UNE and Nichols, will play each other at 1:30 p.m. followed by an elimination game between WNE and Gordon at 4 p.m.
Two games will also take place at Endicott on Thursday, May 2. First at 1:30 p.m. No. 4 seed Salve Regina will play No. 5 seed Roger Williams. The winner of that game will play the top-seeded Gulls at 4 p.m.
Following Thursday's action the six remaining teams will travel to top-seeded Endicott on Friday, May 3 to continue tournament play with four more games. The highest remaining seed after Friday will host the CCC Championship round on Saturday, May 4 with teams heading to the higher-seeded team on Sunday, May 5 for an "if necessary" game should the situation arise.
The winner of the 2019 CCC Softball Tournament will be named the CCC Tournament Champion and will earn the league's automatic qualifier into the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball Championship Tournament.
#2 University of New England 6, #7 Gordon 0
BIDDEFORD, Maine -- Sydnee Bessler (Everett, Mass.) (CCC 1st Team) faced 22 batters without allowing a hit as No. 2 University of New England started the 2019 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Softball Championship [Game 2] with a 6-0 shutout of seventh-seeded Gordon on Wednesday afternoon (May 1) at Nor'easter Diamond.
UNE (24-14) advances into Thursday's Game 5 of the double elimination tournament and will host No.6 Nichols, which defeated third-seeded Western New England University by a 5-1 margin. The Nor'easters and Bison will square off at 1:30 p.m., before the Fighting Scots (18-19) and Golden Bears meet for an elimination match at 4 p.m.
Aside from a first-inning infield error, Bessler cruised through the Gordon lineup en route to her 11th victory. She struck out eight and received a few key snags from the outfield along the way; the final out was the toughest, but the nine-pitch at-bat ended with a comfortable catch in center field.
Avery Alberghini (Moretown, Vt.) (CCC Player of the Year / 1st Team) touched home with an unearned run for UNE in the bottom of the 1st, and then launched a two-out triple to the wall in the 2nd for a 3-0 cushion. Caroline Schoenbucher (Barrinton, N.H.) followed with a double off the fence, plating Alberghini for a 4-0 lead.
That spread held until the 6th, when Sarah Lachapelle (Gilford, N.H.) led-off with a double. Alexis Kapsambelis (Merrimack, N.H.) (CCC 1st Team) stepped in with two away and bounced a ground-rule RBI-double over the wall, before scoring for a second time when Alberghini notched another RBI-triple to the fence in center.
Alberghini finished 3-for-4 on the day to bump her season average up to .544; she entered the contest with the fifth-best mark in Division III. She also swiped two bases to improve upon her fourth-rated clip (1.09) in that category.
Bessler's no-hitter was her second in as many years (both against the Fighting Scots), after the program had gone since 2007 without such a performance.
Caitlin Catalanotto (Kingston, N.H.) took the loss for Gordon in 1.2 innings of work.
Thursday's game versus Nichols will be for a spot in Game 10, where the last two unbeaten squads will meet on Friday at Endicott College (weather permitting). UNE swept the Bison during the regular season with a pair of 4-0 road results back on April 2.
Game recap courtesy of the University of New England Sports Information Department.
#6 Nichols 5, #3 Western New England 1
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Junior Alexis Ferris (Holyoke, Mass.) struck out 13 batters and senior Jessica Kuelling (Gales Ferry, Conn.) drove in a pair of runs as the No. 6 seed Nichols softball team knocked off No. 3 seed Western New England 5-1 Wednesday afternoon at Golden Bear Park.
With the win, the Bison (17-17-1) snapped a six-game losing streak to the Golden Beard and advance to the winner's bracket to face No. 2 UNE Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Biddeford, Maine. The Nor'easters knocked off No. 7 seed Gordon 6-0 earlier today.
The Golden Bears grabbed a 1-0 in the first on an RBI single off the bat of freshman Dana DiBlasio (Norwalk, Conn.). In the fourth, the Bison struck for four runs behind an RBI single from sophomore Colleen Callahan (Billerica, Mass.), a two-run double from Kuelling, and an RBI groundout from junior Amanda Alioto (Patchogue, N.Y.).
That was more than enough run support for Ferris, who allowed just two hits over seven innings to earn her ninth win of the season. Junior Cara Mayhew (Booklyn, Conn.) added an insurance run in the fifth when she doubled in Kuelling.
Junior Aimee Kistner (Taunton, Mass.) – who threw seven shutout innings earlier this season against Nichols – was tagged for four runs on five hits in in three innings of work for WNE.
Game recap courtesy of the Nichols Sports Information Department.
2019 CCC Softball Tournament Schedule
Game numbers reflect the original order of games before rescheduling.
Wednesday, May 1
Thursday, May 2
Hosted by #1 Seed and #2 Seed
Game 1 - #5 Roger Williams vs. #4 Salve Regina (at Endicott), 1:30 p.m.
Game 4 - Game 1 Winner at #1 Endicott, 4 p.m.
Game 5 - #6 Nichols at #2 University of New England, 1:30 p.m.
Game 6 - #7 Gordon vs. #3 Western New England (at University of New England), 4 p.m.
Friday, May 3
Hosted by #1 Endicott
Game 7 - Game 1 Loser vs. Game 5 Loser, TBD
Game 8 - Game 4 Loser vs. Game 6 Winner, TBD
Game 9 - Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner, TBD
Game 10 - Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner, TBD
Saturday, May 4
Hosted by highest remaining seed
Game 11 - Game 10 Loser vs. Game 9 Winner, TBD
Game 12 - Game 10 Winner vs. Game 11 Winner, TBD
Sunday, May 5
Hosted by higher remaining seed
Game 13 - Game 12 teams (if necessary), TBD
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.