Record-Setting Season Ends In MAAC Tournament Heartbreaker
NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The Manhattan College softball team saw its record-setting 2017 come to a heartbreaking end on Friday afternoon at Iona's Donald E. Walsh Field. Third-seeded Marist (37-21) scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to earn a 5-4 victory and eliminate the fourth-seeded Jaspers (34-21) from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament.
It was 2-2 game heading to the seventh, when the Jaspers took the lead with a pair of unearned runs. After Briana Matazinsky (Valley Falls, NY) singled and Victoria Ross (Bloomfield, NJ) walked, Stephanie Reinhardt (Albany, NY) sent a grounder that was bobbled at shortstop. Marist tried to get the out at second, but Ross was called safe, and Matazinsky came around to score the go-ahead run as the Red Foxes argued the play. Alexa Dawid (Milford, NJ) then singled to load the bases before Shannon Puthe (Mullica Hill, NJ) knocked in another run with a base hit to deep short.
However, Marist rallied for three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Janna Korak led off the inning and just beat out a grounder to short for an infield single. After Rebecca Freeman's single down the right field line, Brandi Coon reached on an error, allowing Korak to score. Kourtney Paul followed with an RBI single, moving the winning run to third with nobody out. Gabrielle Kelliher then lifted a fly ball to center field that was deep enough to drive in the run, giving the defending champion Red Foxes a 5-4 victory and knocking out the Jaspers.
Manhattan built an early 2-0 lead with single runs in the third and the fourth. Dominique Palagruto (Sewell, NJ) led off the third with a base hit to left center, then Christine Gebhardt (Middletown, NJ) drew a walk. With two down, Jenn Vazquez (Fairfield, CT) roped a single to right that scored Palagruto and put the Jaspers on the board.
After Ross and Reinhardt started the top of the fourth with back-to-back singles, Marist got a pair of popups. It looked like the Red Foxes would escape the inning without giving up a run, but Palagruto's popup to second was lost in the sun and landed for an error. Ross scored on the play to make it 2-0 Jaspers. Marist tied it in the bottom half of the inning, though, on Brittany Colombo's two-run double to left center.
Both teams had their chances to break the deadlock, but neither side was able to break through until the seventh. Each squad left the bases loaded twice, as there were a total of 23 stranded runners in the game.
Matazinsky collected two of Manhattan's eight hits with a pair of singles. She also scored a run. Ross finished 1-for-2 with two runs scored, while Puthe went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Palagruto, meanwhile, was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Stephanie Kristo (San Jose, CA) started in the circle and tossed two scoreless innings. She gave up two hits and struck out two. Kayla McDermott (Garnerville, NY) followed with 1.2 innings of relief, yielding two runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout. Nicole Williams (Ansonia, CT) (12-8) took the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits to go along with two walks and a strikeout in 2.2 innings.
For the Red Foxes, Paul finished 4-for-4 with an RBI, and Colombo was 1-for-2 with her two-run double. Coon scored a pair of runs and drove in another for Marist. Starting pitcher Jayne Oberdorf lasted two innings in the circle. She was charged with two runs (one earned) on four hits, walked three and struck out one. Kallen Leeseberg pitched two shutout innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while also picking up a strikeout. Megan Beiermeister (11-6) got credit for the win after surrendering two unearned runs on three hits to go along with two strikeouts and two walks in two innings.
With 34 wins this season, the Jaspers tied the program record set in 1993. That brought the career total for seniors Reinhardt, Vazquez and Danielle Gabriel (Island Heights, NJ), all of whom concluded their collegiate careers on Friday, to 116 victories. Manhattan qualified for the MAAC Tournament every year of their career, including a trip to the championship round in 2014.Reinhardt and Vazquez graduate as the Jaspers' all-time leaders in games played. They both appeared in all 207 contests during their four years, with Reinhardt starting every game at shortstop and playing 1,383.2 consecutive defensive innings.