CHICOPEE, Mass. – A big sixth inning in game two led the Elms College softball team to a split against Newbury in a New England Collegiate Conference double-header at Condon Field on Saturday. Three runs in the sixth inning led Elms to a 7-4 win after falling to the Nighthawks 7-1 earlier in the afternoon.
Saturday's games were originally scheduled to be played at Newbury, but the lasting effects of recent winter weather in the Boston area forced the double-header to be relocated to Elms. The Nighthawks, however, were still the "home" team, batting in the bottom half of each inning.
GAME 1 – Newbury 7, Elms 1
It was Newbury (6-10, 1-1 NECC) that took advantage of a big sixth inning if the first half of the double-header. With the game tied 1-1, the Nighthawks erupted for six runs in the bottom of the sixth and held off the Blazers (4-11, 1-3 NECC) in the top of the seventh for the win.
Madison Messier (Warren, Mass.) went 2-for-3 and Katelyn Sylvia (Southwick, Mass.) went 2-for-4 at the plate to combine for four of the five Elms hits in the game. Lisa Lusardi added a double in the game for Elms.
The Nighthawks picked up five of their eight hits in the sixth inning, including two of their three doubles in the game. Mallory Stefan went the distance for Newbury in the pitchers circle, striking out two Elms batters in the win.
GAME 2 – Elms 7, Newbury 4
The Blazers built a 3-0 lead in the third inning before the Nighthawks closed the gap with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to make it 3-2. Elms, however, strung together five hits - all with two outs - in the top of the sixth to take control of the game. Tyla Risucci (Watertown, Conn.), Messier, Jeszy McGuire (Brimfield, Mass.), Raeanna Tumel (Stafford, Conn.), and Catharine Wrang (Middletown, Conn.) each singled consecutively to put the Blazers ahead 6-2.
Elms added a run in the seventh and the Nighthawks tacked on two in the bottom of the seventh before the Blazers sealed their first NECC win of the season.
Elms collected 12 hits in the game as Lusardi, Elizabeth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.), Risucci, Messier and Tumel each finished with two-hit games. Tumel fanned four batters in four innings pitched and gave up just one earned run before Lusardi threw the final three innings and gave up two earned runs.
Samantha Libby (New Gloucester, Maine) went 3-for-3 at the plate and Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) collected three RBIs to lead Newbury.
Condon Field will stay busy next week, as the Blazers are slated to host double-headers against Eastern Nazarene (April 3), Southern Vermont (April 7) and Mitchell (April 8) over the next eight days.