KEENE, N.H. – The Plymouth State University softball team, seeded sixth in the Little East Conference tournament, managed only four hits in two games Thursday and was eliminated with consecutive losses to the top two seeds in games played at Keene State College’s Owl Athletic Complex.
The Panthers dropped the tournament’s first game against top-seeded and regular season champion Eastern Connecticut State University (29-4-1), which is ranked first in the NCAA New England region and 11th nationally, falling to the Warriors, 3-0. PSU’s second game turned ugly as the Panthers were routed by second-seeded Keene State College, 17-0. The Panthers complete the season with a 13-22 overall record.
Sophomore Allie Luisi (North Kingstown, R.I.) provided the highlight for the Panthers, connecting on a double to center field in the fourth inning of the opener against Eastern Conn. It was Luisi’s 13th double of the season, setting the PSU single-season mark of 12 she previously shared with Kristen Hodsdon (1994), Jen Arrajj (1997) and Adriene Harvey (2002).
That ended up as the only hit off Eastern sophomore All-America Molly Rathbun (Hebron, Conn.), who pitched a complete-game one-hitter with 13 strikeouts and no walks to improve her record to 20-1. Rathbun also cracked a two-run home run in the fifth inning to seal the win.
Keene State sophomore Laura Chandler (Wakefield, Mass.) hit a two-run home run in the first inning against PSU and the Owls never looked back, scoring 17 runs on 19 hits, including four home runs. They finished off the five-inning game with nine runs in the fifth inning.
PSU nearly got on the board in the second inning when the score was still 2-0. Senior Sammi Romano (Kingston, N.H.) doubled with two outs and went to third on a single by freshman Jenn Bove (Medford, Mass.), and Bove stole second to put runners at second and third. But the Panthers couldn’t push a run across and Keene State scored three runs in each of the next two innings to put the game away.
Luisi finished the season as the team’s hitting leader with a .398 batting average, 13 doubles, two home runs and 21 RBI. Junior Kortney Nedeau (Kennebunk, Maine) finished with a .360 average, 10 doubles, and team-highs of seven home runs and 24 RBI. Senior Kay LaBrie (Somersworth, N.H.) set the PSU single-season (25) and career (49) records for stolen bases, breaking the marks held for over two decades by Linda Altman (17 in 1981) and Kathy O’Connor (33 from 1984-88).
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