Softball Bats Stay Hot, MCLA Hotter in Sweep

Melissa Cochrane, © Gabriel Fidler
Melissa Cochrane, © Gabriel Fidler

BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Despite continuing to mount a strong offensive attack, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy softball team suffered a heart-breaking doubleheader sweep on its home opener at Rollins Field. On a very windy afternoon, MCLA claimed the first game 9-3 and followed with a 10-5 victory.

Despite the disappointing losses, the Dana Farber came out winners as fans generously supported the Murphys' Dropkick Cancer Raffle for Kaylene Muprhy, who is running the Boston Marathon on Monday in memory of her mother and of teammates' parents. If you missed our feature on Murphy, you can read about her incredible efforts [link] and donate to her "Murphys' Dropkick Cancer" fundraising page [link].

Game One
In the opener, MCLA plated a run in the first, but the Buccaneers struck back in the second. Jill Corazzini beat out a single behind the circle and Madison Coughlin bunted her over. However, the MCLA pitcher threw the ball wildly and Corazzini scampered home. In the aftermath, Coughlin found her way to third.

After one out, Savannah Leite walked and stole second to set up a Kaylene Murphy double to left centre, which drove in Coughlin. That was all for Mass Maritime, which claimed the 2-1 lead through two.

The Trailblazers struck back with two outs in the third, putting together a four-run rally on four straight singles, followed by a double by Nevada Nelsen.

The Buccaneers would strike back in the fourth as Murphy walked and advanced to second on a grounder. Carli Thomas roped a double to left center and MMA pulled to within 4-3. Head Coach Erica Li went to her bullpen and went to Samantha Feinstein, who induced a groundball to escape the threat.

MCLA took immediate advantage in the fifth, putting together a five-run inning. All the runs scored with two outs once more, with the big hits a two-run single from Alanza Quinones. Two unearned runs crossed home in the frame.

That was all the run-scoring in the game as the Bucs were clearly deflated after the difficult turn of events. Feinstein was just what Li needed, striking out four in 3 1/3 frames, retiring all 10 batters who faced her for her first save this season. Adams (2-2) earned the win after going 3 2/3, but gave up two earned runs on six hits and two free passes, striking out one.

Jenna Nalette (1-5) was the victim of two long innings and gave up seven earned in five frames on 11 hits and a walk, striking out a three. Carli Thomas was superb in relief, whiffing three in two scoreless innings.

Adams was a one-women wrecking ball, going 4-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Quinones, Kaylyn Holliday, and Kayla Baker all had a brace of hits. Meanwhile, Thomas stroked a pair of two-baggers, while Murphy reached base twice.

Game Two
Once more, the visitors got off to a quick start, turning a leadoff single and an error into a run in the first. This time, the Blue-and-Gold responded immediately, thanks to the unstoppable Melissa Cochrane. Cochrane rapped a ball to the right of the second baseman and used a nifty slide to beat out the throw. Rachel Gardner then laid down a bunt that hung up the pitcher and catcher and two runners were on.

Madison Ovadek attempted to sacrifice the runners over, but a wild throw ended in an out at home with two runners still on. Corazzini took advantage, laying down a bunt that drew a late throw to the third as Gardner scampered across the plate. Corazzini then stole second, but on the delayed still, Ovadek was caught swiping home as Corazzini advanced all the way to third.

Kristin Arthur walked to set up Thomas once more. Thomas singled through the left side to plate Corazzini and Coughlin then drove home Arthur with a one-base hit of her own.

The Buccaneers held the lead only into the second as a Quinones leadoff single down the left field line started a rally that allowed L'Rae Brundige to score two on a single and finished with a Kaylyn Holliday double into the left field corner.

The score remained 4-3 into the force as a Kaitlyn Berghela triple scored Francesca Belli. An inning later, MCLA made it 5-3 on another Adams single and an error.

MMA finally got to Feinstein again in the bottom of the fifth after Cochrane doubled down the left field line and scored on a groundball from Corazzini, but with two frames remaining, MCLA had a 6-4 lead.

That lead quickly grew in sixth. Kayla Baker led off with a one-base hit and, yet again, Adams came through, stroking a triple up-the-middle that went all the way to the fence. She came home on a groundball to make it two outs, but Quinones started a second rally in the inning with a double. An error played MCLA's first baseman and increased the differential to 10-4.

The Bucs would take one back in the last inning as Cochrane came through once again with a leadoff hit. Gardner then singled to third base, but a throwing error allowed Cochrane to move to third. A delayed double steal saw Gardner gunned down at second, but Cochrane swiped home and the game would end at 10-5.

Feinstein (3-5) claimed the win in her second appearance of the day, though MMA did collect four earned runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out five times. Cochrane (1-6) had the complete game effort and, like Nalette, had several innings prolonged by defensive lapses.

Baker and Berghela each had three hits, as did Brundige. For the second game in-a-row, the Bucs had the only extra-base hit, the double by Cochrane, as she went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Gardner had a hitting brace as well.

Pending weather, Maritime will host UMaine-Presque Isle in a 10 a.m. doubleheader. Make sure to bookmark www.mmabucs.com and get the inside scoop on Facebook and Twitter @mmabuccaneers. Plus, check out our new Instagram @massmaritimebuccaneers.

Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate