The Pride softball team advanced in the 2013 NEWMAC championships Saturday after a shutout of the No. 5 seed Wellesley, 5-0. Junior pitcher Jen Joseph proved why she is one of the most dominant pitchers in the NEWMAC conference with five shutout innings allowing just three hits and tallying five strikeouts.
Wellesley pitcher Lindsay Johnson got herself into a jam very quickly. Kelly Blake hit a pop-up to second basemen Elizabeth Murphy in shallow right field which was dropped, allowing Blake to reach second on the error.
After Christina Leader worked a walk, Melissa Nelson followed with a sacrifice bunt which advanced both Blake and Leader. Still with no outs, Johnson delivered a pitch to power hitting freshman Jenna Webb, who singled off the third base bag, scoring Blake.
Breann Joyce added an RBI with a groundout to short which scored Leader from third.
The Pride continued to place the ball in the right spots throughout the game. Catcher Elizabeth Joseph hit a blooper that fell in left field to start up the offense in the bottom of the second inning.
With two outs and Joseph still on first, Blake got her second hit of the afternoon with a shot over the center fielder’s head. Blake reached second and Joseph stopped at third, allowing Leader to continue the rally with a two-RBI base hit up the middle.
Springfield had the score at 4-0 after two innings and it stayed that way until the fifth. Leader put a great bunt down the third base line in the bottom of the fifth and was able to leg out the throw for a single and scored a few batters later.
Now 5-0, the Pride were secure in their lead with Joseph on the mount. Behind Joseph’s strong pitching and the great awareness of the defense behind her, Wellesley had no answer.
Wellesley’s first hit came in the top of the fourth with a single to left field by infielder Lauren Goldfarb. Kimberly Cabral had another hit for the Blue. Her blooper over the pitcher mound in the top of the fifth, allowed her to reach first.
At the top of the sixth inning, we saw a pitching change for Springfield. Joseph’s dominant outing was finished, with sophomore reliever Caisie Cadorette taking the mound.
Cadorette did her job well, recording two strikeouts and only giving up one hit in the two innings.
“Caisie has been a fantastic closer, always throwing batters off,” Coach Perrelli said.
The Pride’s balanced effort made it seem almost impossible to be stopped. Coach Perrelli knew they had to have the same approach for the whole tournament.
“We had to play with confidence, this is a talented and strong conference, we knew we had to turn it on,” Perrelli also added.
It is unclear if Joseph or her teammate Ashley Marino will start their next contest, but either way the Pride will be confident with who they have behind the mound.
The Pride will know take on Coast Guard next Saturday in the next leg of the NEWMAC championships.