BROOKELINE, Mass. – The fifth-seeded Elms College softball team came up just short of reaching the four-team, double-elimination stage of the New England Collegiate Conference Tournament, falling 3-2 at fourth-seeded Newbury on Tuesday afternoon.
Newbury (16-19) got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when a lead-off walk to Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.) haunted Blazer pitcher Raeanna Tumel (Stafford, Conn.) three batters later when Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.) hit an RBI double to left-center.
The Blazers (15-17) tied the game in the top of the third when Tea Sullivan (Dracut, Mass.), Katelyn Sylvia (Southwick, Mass.) and Catharine Wrang (Middletown, Conn.) all singled before Elizabeth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.) reached on an error, scoring pinch-runner Rachel Connell (Easthampton, Mass.).
The tie did not last long, however, as Newbury regained a one-run advantage in the bottom of the third. Samantha Libby (New Gloucester, Maine) hit a lead-off triple and scored one batter later. A sacrifice fly from Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, R.I.) in the bottom of the fifth gave Newbury a 3-1 lead.
Olszewski hit her NECC-leading eighth home run of the season, a solo shot to lead off the sixth, to cut the deficit to 3-2, but Libby then entered the pitcher's circle for Newbury and retired the next six Elms hitters to pick up her first save of the season and lead the Nighthawks to victory.
Newbury finished with eight hits in the game while Elms managed six, including two from Wrang. Mallory Stefan got the start for Newbury and went five innings, allowing one earned run while striking out three to pick up the win. Lisa Lusardi (Enfield, Conn.) threw the final 4.1 innings for Elms, giving up two earned runs while striking out two in the loss.
Olszewski concludes her Elms career as one of the program's best all-time hitters, leaving as the career leader in home runs (23), doubles (36) and RBIs (115).
The Nighthawks will visit top-seeded Lesley to on May 3 as the double-elimination portion of the tournament begins.