DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Senior Maddie O’Gryzek’s (Norfolk, Mass.) sacrifice fly plated freshman Averi Soares (New Bedford, Mass.) with the game-winning run, as top-seeded UMass Dartmouth rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to post a 3-2 victory over sixth-seeded Western Connecticut in opening round play of the 2019 Little East Conference Softball Championships Thursday morning at the UMD Softball Complex.
The host Corsairs, who improve to 23-16 overall, advance in the winner’s bracket to take on fourth-seeded Southern Maine in second round play Friday morning at 10:00 am. The visiting Colonials fall to 19-17 overall and were eliminated from the tournament later in the day with a 6-2 setback to Plymouth State.
Sophomore Reilly McMahon’s (South Windsor, Conn.) solo homer in the top of the second gave Western Connecticut an early advantage, which was extended to 2-0 in the fourth on sophomore Annie Rosa’s (Washington, Conn.) RBI double. UMass Dartmouth sliced that margin in half in the bottom of the fourth when sophomore Kylie Fletcher (Dighton, Mass.) tripled to right and scored on sophomore Jill Richards’ (Kingston, Mass.) groundout, and that score held up until the Corsairs’ final at-bat.
Freshman Lindsay Chubbuck (Berkley, Mass.) drew a lead-off walk to start the bottom of the seventh, and a fielder’s choice followed before Soares was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Leah Major (Fairhaven, Mass.) singled to right center to load the bases, but a throwing error enabled junior Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) to tie the game for the Corsairs, who again loaded the bases on a walk to freshman Rachel Pereira (Dartmouth, Mass.). O’Gryzek then lofted the first pitch she saw to left, as Soares scored the walk-off run that enabled the hosts to advance.
Major and Richards each had two hits as part of a seven-hit attack for UMass Dartmouth, as freshman Anna Kerwood (Florence, Mass.) tossed three innings of two-hit relief while striking out two to pick up her eighth win inside the circle for the Corsairs. Junior Erica Bower (Hillsborough, N.J.) rapped out a double as part of a six-hit performance in the setback for Western Connecticut, as junior Angelina Miller (Holbrook, N.Y.) allowed three hits and an earned run in relief to fall to 5-5 for the Colonials.
(Photo Credit: Darryl Konicki, Little East Assistant Commissioner)