QUEENSBURY, NY – The University of Maine at Presque Isle Softball team (22-13) got a 7-2 win over SUNY-Canton in the opening round of the American Collegiate Athletic Association Conference Tournament. They would then fall to the eventual tournament champion Finlandia University by a score of 5-3, and be eliminated by SUNY-Canton, losing 4-2.
UMPI 7, SUNY Canton 2
The SUNY-Canton Roos (10-27) would jump out to a 2-0 lead in the third. Rhea Coad (SR, Wheatfield, NY) would get the scoring started with a leadoff homerun. Lizzie Bimonte (SO, Lake Placid, NY) would drive in a second run on her double that split the gap in left centerfield with one out. The Owls would strand her in scoring position to limit the damage.
The Owls would finally respond in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Sara Packard (JR, St. Albans, ME) would lift a ball to left field that would go over the fence for a homerun that would cut the lead in half.
UMPI would get a big sixth inning to propel them to the victory. The Owls would slug five hits and take advantage of three errors by the Roos to plate six runs. Ayana Walker's (FR, Columbus, GA) one out double would drive in two runs to give the Owls the lead. Every one of the runs scored in the inning were unearned as errors early in the extended the opportunity. Emma Gogan (FR, Truro, NS), Packard, and Delanie Strout (FR, Greene, ME) would also collect RBI in the inning.
Gogan would collect three hits in four at bats. Packard would go three for three with two RBI. She would also get the win, pitching seven innings, giving five hits, two runs, three walks, while striking out two.
Finlanida 5, UMPI 3
The Owls would grab the lead in the first inning when Ariel Williams (FR, Frisco, TX) doubled to lead off the game. Emma Gogan would drive her in with a single to center, but be stranded on base at the end of the inning.
The Finlandia Lions (25-13) would get a gift in the bottom of the third. With two outs and two on, a costly throwing error by the Owls would send two runners to the plate, giving the Lions the lead. They would get two more in the fourth, scoring one on Kassandra Avia's (FR, El Monte, CA) double to center. Finlandia would take advantage of another error from the Owls to plate another run, giving them a 4-1 lead.
The Owls would get some clutch hitting to respond. With two outs Delanie Strout and Brianna Losee would single to drive in runs to pull within one, but UMPI would strand runners on first and second. Finlandia would get an insurance run in the fifth, and the Owls would strand lone runners in the sixth and seventh to end the game.
Jackie Peers (FR, Limestone, ME) would go four for four with two doubles and a run scored. Strout and Williams would collect two hits and the Owls would out-hit their opponents 13-8. Packard took the loss, despite just two of the five runs being earned. She would walk no one and strike out four.
SUNY-Canton 4, UMPI 2
In a first round rematch, the Roos and the Owls squared off for a chance to advance to the championship round to play Finlandia. The loser would be eliminated from the tournament.
Both teams missed opportunities to grab the lead early on as SUNY-Canton would leave nine runners on in the game, while UMPI would strand eight. The Roos were finally able to get on the board in the top of the fifth, taking advantage of another defensive miscue from UMPI. With one out and outfield error would allow one run to score and extend the inning. Bimonte would single with two outs to drive in another run and put the Owls in a 2-0 hole.
The top of the seventh would see the Roos add some much needed insurance runs. A walk and a double to start off the inning would allow SUNY-Canton to score on a groundout to short. Another single would set up the same situation, a groundball in which the Owls got an out resulted in a run, and UMPI trailed by four going into the last half inning.
The Owls rallied, getting singles from Losee and Nicole Marucci (JR, Naples, ME) to start the inning. Williams would drive a single up the middle to get UMPI on the board, and then steal second to set up two runners in scoring position and bring the tying run to the plate. An infield pop out would give the Lions defense the first out of the inning, and Gogan would fly out to center to drive in a run, but also resulted in the second out. Down to their last gasp, the Owls would end the game with a comebacker to the pitcher, which she would field and get the out to seal the game.
Losee was the lone Owl to record a multi-hit game, going two for three with a run scored. Packard would give up ten hits, but only two of the four runs she surrendered were earned.
SUNY-Canton would advance to the championship round of the tournament and needed to defeat Finlandia twice. A seven run seventh inning would break the game open for the Roos, who would pound out 16 hits to force the winner-take-all rematch. Finlandia would surrender just three this and shutout the Owls in that one, plating eight runs to take the title.
Sara Packard and Emma Gogan would be selected to the ACAA All-Tournament Team. Packard would pitch every inning for the Owls, giving up just six earned runs in twenty innings of work. She would also go four for ten from the plate, with three RBI and a homerun. Gogan would also collect four hits in ten at bats. She would drive in three runs and add a sacrifice fly to her line.