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SOFTBALL: New Tournament Schedule Announced, USJ Wins a Pair on Thursday as Double-Elimination Begins



GNAC Tournament schedule updated,
two elimination contests set for Friday 5/7PM

Friday, May 3, 2019 (hosted by #1S Simmons, Daly Field)
Game 5: #1S Simmons vs. #2N Suffolk - 5:00 PM (elimination game)
Game 6: #3N Saint Joseph's of Maine vs. #3S Johnson & Wales - 7:00 PM (elimination game)  

Saturday, May 4, 2019 (hosted by #1S Simmons, Daly Field)
Game 7: #1N Emmanuel vs. #2S Saint Joseph (Conn.) - 10:00 AM
Game 8: Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6 - 12:30 PM (elimination game)
Game 9: Winner of Game 8 vs. Loser Game 7 - 3 PM (elimination game) 
Game 10: Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 9 - 5:30 PM 

Sunday, May 5, 2019 (hosted by #1S Simmons, Daly Field)
Game 11: If necessary - 11:00 AM 

NO. 2S Saint Joseph (Conn.) 3, NO. 3S Johnson & Wales 2

BOSTON, Mass.— Behind the 11th complete game from the ace, junior pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.), and a critical three-run fourth, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) softball team hold on to win another tremendous softball game against the four-time defending champion Johnson & Wales University (JWU), 3-2, in the second round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament, on a crisp Thursday afternoon on Daly Field.

The Blue Jays (24-17) trailed 1-0 early, but broke through with three runs in the fourth to take the lead. Stellar fielding behind Sharon prevented any late game rallies. The Wildcats (21-20) lose their first game in this double elimination tournament. USJ picks up their first playoff win since 2016.

There was much anticipation for this pitcher's duel, as Sharon went head-to-head with junior pitcher Kristin Frost (Pearl City, Hawaii). Frost came in second in the GNAC in ERA (2.03) and strikeouts (92). Sharon came in third in ERA (2.48) and tied for third in wins (10). Both delivered in the circle, with USJ getting the narrow one-run edge:

USJ - Amaria Sharon (11-5) - 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER 4 K on 88 pitches (61 Strikes)

JWU- Kristin Frost (10-4) – 5.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 K on 74 pitches (49 Strikes)

At the plate, senior shortstop Isabella Russo (Southington, Conn.) was 2-for-3 with a triple, single and an RBI. Senior third baseman Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) added a single, while sophomore right fielder Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) reached home on two errors, after slamming a ball to left center. Senior third baseman Meghan Gavin (Wallingford, Conn.) and Frost both went 1-for-3 with an RBI respectively.

The Wildcats struck first on an RBI double from Frost. After retiring the first three in order, Sharon looked to do the same, serving up a nasty changeup for two quick strikeouts. JWU would score on a two-out rally, as Frost brought a run home on a hard-hit ball to left with two strikes. 1-0 JWU. USJ did a great job getting the sure outs though, understanding the situation, and avoiding any more trouble.

Frost was perfect through three innings, but in the bottom of the fourth, the Blue Jays finally got it going with a single up the middle from Klimaszewski. Russo then ripped her first triple of the season, and it couldn't have come at a better time, falling into the right center field gap, scoring Klimaszewski, and tying the game at one.

After a pop out, Milardo came up and drilled a shot to left field. It was dropped, scoring Russo easily. Milardo made it to third safely, but the cut off throw was missed, allowing Milardo to score. USJ took a commanding 3-1 lead, and stole the momentum.

The Wildcats showed the championship team that they are though, cutting the gap in half on a single, and a pair of fielder's choices. Gavin got the latter to drive in the run. 3-2 USJ. Milardo closed the inning with a nice extending catch in right field.

As great as Sharon was throughout, her teammates behind her made some huge plays down the stretch, particularly in the sixth inning. Russo started it with a great diving catch with her back to the ball in shallow left to get out one.  Senior center fielder Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) showed her speed by racing to a fly ball in left center to get out two. A huge five-pitch inning from Sharon, backed by plays in the field, put USJ three outs from victory.

The Wildcats did all they could to find a way on base in the seventh, but Sharon was just too good. A pop out to third, a solid putout by Russo at short, and a second pop out to third capped a huge win for USJ softball in their quest for a second GNAC Championship. The victory advanced the Blue Jays into the winner's bracket against the top seed in the south division, Simmons University (SU).

Up Next
USJ is now 1-0 in the double elimination GNAC Tournament. They play south division top-seed and tournament host Simmons (MA) at 7:00 p.m. on Daly Field.

Courtesy of USJ Athletics Communications.

NO. 3N Saint Joseph's Maine 8, NO. 2N Suffolk 6 (11 innings)

BOSTON – Suffolk softball matched the most innings played in its 34-year history, but the second seed of the North Division could not hold off the side's third seed Saint Joseph's (Maine), who racked up three in the 11th to defeat the Rams, 6-4, in the second-round of the 2019 GNAC Softball Tournament.  

SCORE: Suffolk 6 | Saint Joseph's (Maine) 8
RECORDS: Suffolk (21-17) | Saint Joseph's (Maine) (12-21) 

Suffolk walked out to a 2-run lead in the opening inning behind a pair of base-on-balls and a Monks' miscue. Caitlin Murphy drew a walk to start things off, advanced to third on Grace Boehler's bunt up the line and an overthrow by SJC's second baseman Libby Pomerleau let the rookie put the first run of the day on the board. On out later, Jaclyn Flint wore a pitch before working her way around the bags on back-to-back wild pitches. Kelly Keane's patience at the plate resulted in a walk that allowed Flint to score for the two-run margin.  

After a scoreless second, Saint Joe's sliced the margin in half behind a one-run triple from Melodie Bailey.  

The Rams regained the two-run distance in the bottom of the fifth when Ashley Zulla singled up the middle to score Murphy, who wore a pitch to reach.  

An error allowed the Monks to pull within one in the sixth, but Hannah DelCervo kept SJC there to remain in front, 3-2. 

DelCervo and the Rams were one out away from locking up the victory, however, an erratic throw from the senior twirler allowed the game-tying run to come and force the marathon extra innings.  

Suffolk had multiple attempts to walk with a runner in scoring position in the eighth and pair in the 10th, but the blue-and-gold was never able to push the runner in to keep things deadlocked.  

With Constance Phelan in the circle, the Monks figured things out and did damage on a pair of hits to put the Rams in a 6-3 hole.  

McKenzie McGrath started Suffolk's comeback with a double to left. Two outs later, a base hit from Murphy score the senior to. Down two, Boehler barreled a deep ball to left field, but it flew just foul.  The sophomore left fielder took a ball to bring things to a full count. The tying run would remain at the plate though as Boehler went down swinging.  


  • Phelan slipped to 5-5 on the year after giving up three runs on three hits and two walks in 1.2 innings of work. 
  • DelCervo put together a three-run (two earned), six-hit, three-walk, seven-strikeout performance over 9.1 frames of action. 
  • Caitlyn King earned the decision behind a one-run, nine-hit, one-walk, two-punchout effort over 7.0 innings of relief. 
  • Kate Whitney started in the circle for the Monks and gave up three runs (one earned) on one hit and three walks in 4.0 frames.  


  • Both of McGrath's hits were doubles. The senior third baseman scored one run. 
  • Zulla had a pair of hits and one RBI. 
  • Murphy scored twice, brought in one run and had one hit. 
  • Flint recorded one hit and one run. 
  • Samantha Jacques and Hailey Cockroft both provided one hit.  


  • Suffolk and Saint Joseph's (Maine) went to extra-innings in the GNAC Tournament for the second straight season. 
  • The Rams played in their fifth extra-inning league postseason game in the Jaclyn Davis era. Suffolk is 4-1 in such contests. 
  • The 11-inning outing is the longest game under Davis' guidance. 
  • Suffolk tied the longest game in Suffolk softball history playing 11 complete innings for the second time, first in the GNAC tournament and first since dropping an 8-6 decision to Norwich April 30, 2010. 
  • The Rams are now 2-5 versus SJC in the GNAC Tournament as it took down the Monks in the post-season in the third consecutive meeting.  

Suffolk awaits the results of the South Division's Quarterfinal contest between top-seeded Simmons and second seed Saint Joseph (Conn.) to find out its opponent in the elimination contest. 

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics Communications.

NO. 1N Emmanuel 4, NO. Saint Joseph's Maine 2

The Basics
Score: Emmanuel College 4; Saint Joseph's College (ME) 2

Emmanuel College Saints, 25-12
Saint Joseph's College (ME) Monks, 12-2
Location: Boston, Mass.- Roberto Clemente Field

Date: Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Lead: Senior shortstop Audrey Esakoff (Ventura, Calif.) went 2-for-3 with two RBI to power the #1N Emmanuel College softball team past #3N Saint Joseph's College (ME), 4-2, Thursday evening in Second Round action of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference softball tournament.

How it Happened:

  • Esakoff got things started in the top of the second with a single up the middle that drove in two runs and put the Saints on top, 2-0.
  • Junior Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda (South Boston, Mass.) extended the Saints' lead, 3-0, by scoring on a wild pitch.
  • Saint Joe's junior Madisyn Charest (Sidney, Maine) closed gap for the Monks in the fourth bringing in two runs on a double to the left field fence, driving in a pair to cut the deficit to 3-2.
  • The Saints got an insurance run in the sixth when senior Kerry Sendrick singled down the left field line driving in freshman Renae Lacroix (Cumberland, R.I.) to extend the Saints' lead, 4-2.
  • EC senior hurler Megan Kieselback (Wethersfield, Conn.) made the lead stand up, retiring the side in order in the seventh to pick up the complete-game victory and improve to 12-5 on the year

Inside the Numbers:

  • Esakoff, Lacroix and Sendrick all finished with two hits each for Emmanuel.
  • SJM junior pitcher Caitlyn King (Old Town, Maine) suffered the loss to fall to 6-11 on the year, going the distance and allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits while striking out two.
  • Kieselback improves to 11-0 since March 31 in the circle.
  • Junior Maizie Lee (Saco, Maine) was the lone Monk to collect multiple hits in the contest going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
  • The Saints match their 2018 win total at 25 and are now one win shy of tying the single-season program record of 26 wins back from the 2016 campaign.

Up Next:

  • Emmanuel will take on #2S University of Saint Joseph (CT) in the Winner's Bracket championship game in the next round of the GNAC Tournament. The winner will advance to the GNAC Championship round and need just one more victory to capture the 2019 GNAC title.
  • Saint Joseph's (ME) is back in action tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM in an elimination game vs. #3S Johnson & Wales University at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass.

Courtesy of Emmanuel Athletics Communications.

NO. 2S USJ 5, 1S Simmons 1

BOSTON, Mass.— The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) softball team made a statement in the second round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament, defeating the top seed in the south division (and tournament host) Simmons University (SU), 5-1, going 2-0 on Daly Field Thursday night.

The Blue Jays (25-17) scored two runs in the first and second inning, allowing junior pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.), who pulled double-duty, to manage the game at her own pace. The Sharks (19-22), who dominated USJ in a doubleheader on Daly Field five days before, were held to just one run for the first time since opening day against WPI on March 3. This is also the first time the Blue Jays have won both games to start the second round of the GNAC Tournament under 14-year head coach Jim McKinnon.

"It was a solid day all around; we had two-out hits, good defense, and of course, Amaria Sharon." McKinnon said.

Sharon did damage in the circle and at the plate, hitting 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. Sophomore right fielder Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) was 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI. Senior shortstop Isabella Russo (Southington, Conn.), and senior center fielder Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) added an RBI each. Senior first baseman Dom Ortiz (Lawrence, Mass.) had the sole RBI for the Sharks, a ground out which scored sophomore catcher Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.), who reached on a hard hit single.

Sharon, who threw a 90-plus pitch complete game an hour before, threw another gem (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 K) to win her team-best 12th game of the year (12-5). Freshman pitcher Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.), who had a phenomenal first year in her own right, took the loss (11-6), allowing four runs (3 ER) on four hits in one and a third.

Riding the wave of momentum from their game one victory against Johnson & Wales University (JWU), the Blue Jays put two runs on the board in the first inning. Sharon hit a lead-off double, and senior third baseman Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) followed it up with a walk. After a second walk from junior designated player McKenna Driscoll (Bristol, Conn.) loaded the bases, Milardo ripped a single down the left field line to score Sharon. With the bases loaded again, Skoly added an RBI ground out to second base to bring in run number two. 2-0 USJ.

One inning later, freshman left fielder Samantha Iannone (Wallingford, Conn.) led off with a monster double to right center. Sophomore second baseman Michelle Woodruff (Southington, Conn.), understanding Sharon was due up next (batting .431), and the value of every run in a playoff game, bunted Iannone to third. With one down, Sharon smacked a stand-up double to the left field wall to scorre Iannone. 3-0 USJ. The run ended the night early for Castigliego.

Two batters later, Russo reached on a two-out hit, this one a grounder to second, but she beat a high throw that scored Sharon. Saint Joe's took a commanding 4-0 lead.

USJ added a fifth run in the top of the fourth. With Klimaszewski on third after a triple to center, Russo once again came up big with two outs, scoring Klimaszewski on a single. It would be all the Blue Jays would get, as sophomore relief pitcher Hailey Yabroudy (Amherst, N.H.) got out of jams unscathed in the fifth, sixth and seventh for SU.

The sixth inning could have been much worse, as the Sharks loaded the bases, looking to make a big dent in the lead, just as they have done all year. It could have been much worse for USJ, who just like game one, relied on heads-up fielding to get the job done. After a lead-off walk, on a 3-2 pitch, Sharon stopped a liner heading straight for her glove, but it dropped. She picked it up and immediately got the force out at second knowing Del Vacchio got a great jump to first, getting the sure out. The Sharks loaded the bases on a single and error on a throw to third, and broke through for their first run on an Ortiz groundout. Klimaszewski again got the sure out at first. It helped minimize the damage, as Sharon struck out sophomore second baseman Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) looking, ending the rally at one.

SU refused to quit from start to finish, but it was simply Sharon and the Blue Jays night, as a 1-2-3 seventh capped a 5-1 victory in game two, and a sweep of the second round.

McKinnon and his coaching staff are proud of what the team has accomplished, and wants them to enjoy every moment of it, from the highest of highs, to even the little things, like laughs on the team bus. There is still work to be done though.

"We're playing one game at a time. That is all we are doing. Our motto all year has been 'play anywhere, win anywhere.'"

Up Next
USJ is now 2-0 in the double elimination GNAC Tournament. They will travel back to Boston Saturday, May 4, to play the top seed in the GNAC North, Emmanuel (MA). First pitch is set for 10:00 a.m. on Daly Field.

Courtesy of USJ Athletics Communications.

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience. 

– #TheGNAC –