By: Dan Charest
Anchor Sports Writer
There will be no NCAA Tournament this year for the Rhode Island College softball team after the squad got swept at the Little East Tournament last weekend to fourth seeded Plymouth State University 9-8 and to first seeded Eastern Connecticut State University, completing a disappointing transition year for the youth-filled team.
As the third seed in the LEC after rounding out the regular season 10-4 in league play, the Anchorwomen faced fourth seed Plymouth State (21-10, 7-7) in the opening game on Thursday. RIC took a first inning 3-0 lead highlighted by back-to-back RBI doubles from juniors Emily Johnson and Kristina Gingell. Johnson held PSU scoreless for the first three innings, but the Panthers struck for four runs in the fourth, three in the third, and two in the sixth. PSU carried a 9-5 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, where the Anchorwomen found some momentum.
Taylor Nelson, Missy Jandreau, and Stacy Pokora rallied off three straight singles to begin the inning and close the gap to three runs. Johnson’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Jandreau and with two outs Justina Thoma plated in Pokora with a single, bringing the deficit to 9-8. RIC coach Maria Morin sent in Nicole Guggino to pinch-hit, but PSU pitcher Nora Galvin struck out Guggino to complete the 9-8 PSU win.
The prize for losing in the opening round to the Panthers was to play tournament hosts and the second seeded team in the country Eastern Connecticut (38-1, 14-0) Friday morning. The offensive leader of the Anchorwomen, sophomore centerfielder Stacy Pokora hit her eighth home run of the season to put RIC on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
Once again, the fourth inning proved to be the Anchorwomen’s worst enemy. Still holding the 1-0 lead, RIC gave up seven runs in the top of the fourth. The Warriors, Kassondra Silva, tied up the score with an RBI single and the rally kept going when Arielle Cooper knocked home two more runs with her second hit of the morning. To make matters worse, Mattie Brett smacked a three run homer to close out the ECSU scoring in the fourth.
RIC’s Monica Koehler walked in a run in the fourth to put the score at 7-2. Next inning Arielle Cooper hit a two-run shot for the Warriors before her teammate, an All-American, Molly Rathbun jacked a grand slam in the top of the sixth to put ECSU up 13-2. RIC had to score three in the sixth to send the game to the seventh and final inning but could not muster anything more than a single from Kristina Gingell and a fielder’s choice by Justina Thoma. RIC’s 13-2 loss to ECSU ended the season for the Anchorwomen.
Over the season, Stacy Pokora led the team in batting average (.424), runs (36), RBIs (30), slugging (.703), and on-base percentage (.461). Junior Jess Borden led the squad on the mound, leading the Anchorwomen in wins (9), era (3.92), and complete games (13). RIC ends the 2012 season at 19-18, the first time in 13 years the Anchorwomen did not win at least 20 games.