By Nick Pantages
As first-year catcher Carissa Pecchia hit a 2-run double to put the mercy rule into effect – securing a Springfield College victory – Amelia DeRosa crossed home plate. Despite her run not counting due to the previous runner putting the Pride up by eight, thus ending the game in the fifth inning, she was immediately embraced by fellow starting pitcher Gillian Kane. Emphatically, she told DeRosa, “Amelia, you just threw a perfect game.”
“I had no clue [I had a perfect game]. I had no idea,” DeRosa said.
For Springfield head coach Kate Bowen, a perfect game was something that was new to her as the leader of the Pride.
“I don’t think I’ve ever coached a perfect game before,” Bowen said.
The results of the day for Springfield at Diane Potter field were two wins over Westfield State, 5-2 and 8-0, bouncing back from the consecutive losses to MIT last Saturday, April 15. The Pride improved to 27-5 on the season.
Game one of the doubleheader was deadlocked at two heading into the bottom of the sixth. Meghan Doyle had an RBI single in the top of the first for Westfield, and Callie Gendron responded with a sacrifice fly to score Mackenzie Doyle.
In the second, the Westfield State pitcher helped herself with an RBI double, but that lead was also short lived, as Doyle hit an RBI single through the right side to tie the game back up at two.
After the first two innings however, starting pitcher Gillian Kane settled in only allowing three hits over the next five innings, and not allowing another run.
“We have so many pitchers that can step up and contribute for us,” Bowen said. “[Kane] was great today.”
Great defensive plays were also a theme. In the first inning, Westfield State left fielder Xandra Silva made a great play to take away what looked to be a double into the gap to stop a potential big inning for Springfield. Springfield center fielder Maggie Britt made a running catch in the fifth inning to prevent Westfield from scoring a run, standing two runners on base.
In the bottom of the sixth inning after popouts from Kane and Alli Olsen, Britt stepped up and slapped an infield single, and took second base in the process after the Westfield State defense fell asleep.
Doyle then walked, setting up DeRosa at the plate with runners on first and second and two outs. She proceeded to rope a single into center field, scoring Britt and giving the Pride their first lead of the game.
“We’re never out of it,” Bowen said. “I knew that last inning we were gonna get it done and get the hits.”
Pecchia doubled one batter later, driving in two, and extending the Pride’s lead to three runs. Kane shut the door in the seventh to win the game for the Pride.
In the second game of the day, the Pride controlled from the first pitch. Kristen Acocella opened the scoring for the Pride, driving in Doyle on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. Breannah McCann’s two-run double gave the Pride a 3-0 lead, and Olsen drove her in with a sacrifice fly to right field to give the Pride four first inning runs.
They tacked another one on in the third courtesy of a Dana Serricchio ground ball that was bobbled by the Westfield State third baseman, allowing Kate Katsetos to score.
In the fifth, Serricchio took a borderline pitch with two strikes and two outs. Although the Westfield coaching staff thought it was an inning ending strike three call, the umpire instead called it a ball. Two pitches later, it was 6-0 Pride, with Serricchio driving home Olsen. After a Doyle single up the middle and a DeRosa walk, Pecchia doubled to end the game, securing DeRosa a perfect game.
“It takes everyone for a [perfect game]. Everyone made so many good plays in the outfield and in the infield. It was just a really great game,” Bowen said.
DeRosa echoed a similar sentiment.
“We had some really good outs from our outfielders and out infielders, everyone contributed to this.”
For DeRosa, throwing a perfect game was really special, but not the best thing she has done this year.
“It felt cool. It was only five [innings], but it still counts and definitely felt good.”
She added, “The cycle was better though.”
DeRosa and the Pride get back on the diamond this Friday, April 21, as they travel to New London, Conn. to take on Coast Guard.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College Athletics