DALLAS, Pa. – Alvernia scored one run in the top of the seventh inning to notch a 6-5 win over McDaniel and force the if-necessary game and then recorded a 2-0 win in that contest to claim the 2014 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South softball championship on Sunday.
Over the two games, Rachel Sidney (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) rapped out four hits to give end her career with 184 for the Green Terror (29-17), breaking Julie Backof's program record of 183.
Brittanie Wolff threw the seventh inning of the first game for the Crusaders (26-15) to pick up the save before going the distance in game two for the win, earning tournament Most Outstanding Player honors.
Tied at 5-all, Breanna Kuhn walked to lead off the top of the seventh inning before Katie Manowski dropped down the bunt to move her into scoring position. Her bunt spun fair right in front of the plate and McDaniel did not have a play to give Alvernia runners at first and second.
With two outs, Aly Shilling roped a ball to short for an infield single. However, after the ball rolled away, Kuhn rounded third and headed home for a 6-5 lead before Manowski was thrown out at third to end the inning.
Emily Sneeringer (Hanover, Pa./South Western) was in the middle of a home run controversy for the second straight day. She ripped a ball to straightaway center field that cleared the temporary fence. However, Felicia McKenna crashed through the fence and held on to the ball for what was ruled to be an out by the first-base umpire. After a lengthy argument that centered around the ground rules involving a temporary fence and conversation among the umpires, the out call stood.
Jackie Liebowitz (Bellerose, N.Y./Benjamin N. Cardozo) drew a four-pitch walk but a pair of popups preserved the 6-5 win, sending the two teams to a rematch in a winner-takes-all game.
McDaniel jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. After Sidney walked, she was in motion on a full-count pitch to Amy Baumgardner (Hanover, Pa./South Western). Baumgardner roped the ball down the first-base line and Sidney was able to score from first for a 1-0 lead.
After a groundout moved Baumgardner to second, Lauren Stricker (Mt. Airy, Md./South Carroll) doubled into the left-field corner to score Baumgardner for a 2-0 lead.
After an Aly Shilling single and Amanda Turner walk, McKenna singled into shallow right fleld with one out to cut the deficit in half.
Amanda Galanti drew a leadoff walk in the fourth inning before taking second on a passed ball and scoring on a Samantha Penk double to tie the game.
Liebowitz and Stacey Armacost (Glenville, Pa./South Western) put together back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the frame before an error loaded the bases for Sidney, who singled back up the middle to put McDaniel back in front by one.
An inning later, Stephanie Maring (Woodbine, Md./South Carroll) doubled to the wall in center field to lead off the frame before taking third on a fly out and scoring on a Sneeringer sacrifice fly for a 4-2 lead.
A Manowski single and hit batter coupled with a wild pitch put runners at second and third with nobody out in the top of the sixth.
Penk was called on to drop down the bunt on a suicide squeeze play. The Green Terror attempted to get the runner at the plate but did not. Instead, the play ended with runners back at second and third with no outs in a 4-3 game.
Shannon Grim followed with a single to left that coupled with a fielding error scored both runners for a 5-4 lead.
Caitlin Justice (Stuart, Fla./Jensen Beach) reached on an infield single before Olivia Kipe (Manchester, Md./Manchester Valley) bunted pinch-runner Megan Moore (Bridgeton, N.J./Cumberland Regional) to second base.
A Sidney infield single put runners at the corners before Baumgardner walked to load the bases.
Maring was hit by a pitch to force in Moore with the tying run with two outs but McDaniel left the bases loaded for the second time in the game.
Sidney and Justice had two hits each while Caroline Brehm (Hanover, Pa./New Oxford) struck out 10.
The only runs of the second game came in the bottom of the second inning.
Shannon Grim singled to left field to lead off the inning before McKenna bunted her to second.
Rachel Fritz followed with a blast over the fence in left-center for her first home run of the season and a 2-0 lead.
The seventh inning, again, was not without controversy, however.
With two outs, Sam Stitely (Westminster, Md./North Carroll) singled back up the middle before Kipe laced a ball down the left-field line that went beyond the temporary fence but the Alvernia left fielder chased the ball. When the ball was returned to play, Kipe was standing on third and Stitely had scored to close the deficit to one.
However, the umpires ruled it to be a ground-rule double, returning Stitely to third and Kipe to second. After an official protest and meeting between the umpires and games committee, the confusion over the facility's ground rules remained and the call stood.
In addition to Sidney's program-record 184 hits, Maring finished her career with 102 base knocks.
Brehm recorded eight strikeouts to end the season with a single-season program-record 396 strikeouts. She will enter her senior season with 1,118 for her career.