WALTHAM, Mass. - Plymouth State University's bid for an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Softball Championship came to an end Sunday afternoon with a 6-4 loss to top-seeded Brandeis University in an elimination game at Brandeis' Marcus Field.
The sixth-seeded Panthers, who had recorded upset victories over third-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine) in a first-round contest on Wednesday and fourth-seeded Western New England College Saturday in an elimination game, suffered their second loss of the tournament and complete their season with a 24-18 overall record.
Second-seeded Keene State College walloped defending champion Brandeis in the championship game on Sunday, 11-1, to capture the tournament title. KSC wraps up the campaign with a 30-14 mark, and Brandeis winds up 28-17.
Most of the scoring in the PSU/Brandeis game came in the 4-5-6 innings after Brandeis had taken a 1-0 lead in the second on a solo home run by freshman Marianne Specker (South Windsor, Conn.).
PSU took the lead with two runs in the top of the fourth as sophomore Kortney Nedeau (Kennebunk, Maine) singled and classmate Andrea Pydynkowski (Danvers, Mass.) hit her team-leading seventh home run of the season. The Judges answered with a pair of their own in the bottom half of the inning as junior Erin Ross (Manalapan, N.J.) singled, Specker doubled, and senior Samantha Worth (Londonderry, N.H.) brought them both home with a single to right center.
Junior Kay LaBrie (Somersworth, N.H.) singled and later scored on a throwing error as PSU tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fifth. Brandeis took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning on a two-run single by freshman Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa.).
PSU had one last rally in the sixth inning. Sophomore Melissa Caiazzo (Portland, Maine/Deering) led off with her team-high 11th double and Pydynkowski and seniors Rachel Pothier (Reading, Mass.) and Heather Bartolo (Derry, N.H.) followed with consecutive singles to bring one run in, cutting the margin to 5-4, and loading the bases with no outs. The Panthers couldn't push the tying run across and left the bases loaded, and could only get one runner on base in the seventh inning.
Pydynkowski finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI, and ended up as the team leader in batting average this season (.350). Nedeau also had a pair of hits.
Senior pitcher Courtney MacFarland (Hampstead, N.H.) had a valiant effort in the circle for PSU, pitching a complete game and striking out seven. She completes the season with a 13-10 record and her 30 career victories rank second on PSU's all-time wins list.
-- 30 --