NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College softball team wrapped up the regular season by splitting a pair of New England Collegiate Conference games with Newbury College on Monday afternoon at Alumni Field.
After Newbury took the first game by a 10-6 final, the Mariners overcame a three-run deficit in the seventh inning to tie the second game and force extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Samantha DelConte sent everyone home with a two-run, walk-off homer to give Mitchell the 8-6 victory.
Mitchell (14-20 overall, 9-7 NECC) and Newbury (15-19 overall, 10-6 NECC) have both qualified for the 2018 NECC Softball Championship, which kicks off with a pair of elimination games on Tuesday, May 1. A complete bracket with seeding, sites and game times will be released by the conference later tonight.
Game 1 – Newbury 10, Mitchell 6
Hannah Besaw went 4-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored as Newbury pounded out 15 hits in the opener. Samantha Libby, Alexis Vieira and Christina Babcock also finished with a pair of hits in the contest.
Mitchell grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning only to see Newbury tie things up in the third. Libby crossed the plate with the first run before Vieira doubled down the left-field line to plate the second. In the home half, a two-run single by Taylor Duchesneau put the Mariners back in front at 4-2.
The Nighthawks took over the lead for good in the fourth, pushing across three runs behind RBI singles by Babcock—who later scored on a wild pitch—and Noelle Sass. Newbury then padded the lead with five runs in the fifth, with Besaw and Libby contributing RBI singles and Sass driving in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Newbury starter Mallory Stefan made the margin stand, surrendering six runs (three earned) on 10 hits while striking out five to improve to 9-13. Mitchell starter Shyla Phillips-Krick took the loss, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on 13 hits while fanning three.
Stephanie Adams had three hits to pace the Mitchell offense.
Game 2 – Mitchell 8, Newbury 6 (8 innings)
Mitchell scored twice in the first inning to once again jump out to a 2-0 lead. Duchesneau knocked in the first run with a grounder, and Laurissa Amaker later followed with an infield single to plate the other.
Newbury responded with four runs in the second inning. An RBI double by Stefan put the Nighthawks in front, and Alina Milauskas tacked on an RBI single to make it a 4-2 game.
After the Mariners scratched across a run in the third, the Nighthawks added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to extend the lead to 6-3. The visitors could have had another run in the fifth if it weren't for Amaker, who took away a home run in left field before falling over the fence.
Phillips-Krick drew a one-out walk to start the rally in the Mitchell seventh, and Duchesneau followed with a double to bring the tying run to the plate. Danielle Autieri knocked in a run with a grounder, and a throwing error on the play resulted in another run for the Mariners. Amaker later stepped up to the plate with two down and the tying run on third base, and she belted a line drive into left field to even the score at 6-6.
Duchesneau got three quick outs in the top of the eighth to keep the Nighthawks off the scoreboard. Mitchell then moved the winning run to third on a sacrifice bunt before DelConte made it a moot point, crushing her first homer of the season over the left-field fence to end the game.
Duchesneau (8-8 overall) allowed six runs (five earned) on 12 hits and struck out four in the win. Milauskas (1-5 overall) yielded eight runs (three earned) on eight hits and fanned three in the loss.