King's Edges Wilkes To Claim Freedom Conference Softball Title
King’s College overcame a spirited effort from Wilkes University to post a 6-3 win over the Lady Colonels and claim the Freedom Conference softball title on Saturday afternoon at the Ralston Complex.
The Lady Monarchs improved to 33-7 overall and copped the conference’s automatic bid into the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament. Wilkes saw their record fall to 24-13.
Wilkes, which dropped a 1-0 decision to FDU-Florham in their opening game on Friday, rattled off three straight wins on Saturday to move into the championship contest. The Lady Colonels opened the day with a 5-0 win over Delaware Valley College. They would exact some revenge in their next game when they posted a 4-1 victory over FDU-Florham. Wilkes forced a seventh and deciding game with King’s by scoring a 5-1 win over the Lady Monarchs in their third game of the day.
The Lady Colonels took a 1-0 lead in the title game when Gina Stefanelli hit a solo homer in the third inning.
The game would stay that way until King’s used a homer of their own to take control in the fifth. Abbey Knoblauch and Justine Maggio singled to start the inning. Leanne Harvey followed by reaching on an error that loaded the bases with no outs. Mari Valonis would provide the decisive blow when she cracked a grand slam to right-center field that gave King’s a 4-1 lead.
Wilkes cut the lead to 4-2 in the sixth when Stefanelli hit her second homer of the game. But, King’s plated a pair of runs in the top of the seventh on RBI-singles by Julie Bidwell and Meaghan Galvin to extend the lead to 6-2.
Sara Miller would hit a solo homerun for Wilkes in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it 6-3. But, that is as close as the Lady Colonels would get.
Lindsay Hoerner (11-2), who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, picked up the win after scattering six hits in seven innings of work. Laurie Agresti (16-4), who pitched 22 of the 28 innings that Wilkes played on Saturday, suffered the loss. Agresti allowed eight hits and four earned runs, while striking out 10, in 6.2 innings.
Knoblauch had three hits to pace an 11-hit King’s attack. Valonis and Maggio contributed two hits apiece for the Lady Monarchs.
Agresti helped Wilkes force the deciding game by tossing a one-hitter in the Lady Colonels 5-1 win over King’s. The senior struck out 13 and walked only one. The lone hit she allowed was a lead-off bunt single to Harvey in the seventh. Kelsey Shreaves (14-3) took the loss after surrendering 12 hits and four earned runs in seven frames.
Wilkes jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a solo homer by Julie Henry in the bottom of the fourth. They would tack on one more run in the inning on an RBI-double by Stefanelli to make it 2-0.
The Lady Colonels pushed across three more runs in the sixth to extend their lead to 5-0. Alex Ingram led off with a single and moved to third on a one-out single by Stefanelli. Melisa Bracone followed with a base hit that scored Ingram and made it 3-0. A King’s error on a ball hit by Erin Plank would score Stefanelli and push the lead to 4-0. Kathy Dalton then delivered Bracone with a single to give Wilkes a 5-0 edge.
King’s scored their lone run in the seventh. After Harvey singled, Valonis reached on a two-base error to place runners at second and third. Agresti would strike out Hoerner before Rebecca Loring grounded out to score Harvey and cut the gap to 5-1. Agresti then got Shreaves to pop out in the infield to end the game.
Bracone had three hits to lead Wilkes, who had 12 hits in the game. Stefanelli, Dalton, Ingram and Kerry Finnerty added two hits each.
In game two of the day, FDU-Florham took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI-double by Katelyn Smith.
However, Wilkes would respond by scoring twice in both the fifth and seventh innings to pull out the win. Dalton singled, stole second and scored on a single by Katie Orr in the fifth to knot the game at 1-1. Orr, who raced all the way to third on the throw home trying to nail Dalton, would give Wilkes a 2-1 lead when she trotted home following a single by Stefanelli.
Dalton keyed the two-run spurt in the seventh by doubling to start the frame. After Dalton stole third, Miller stepped to the plate and ripped a two-run homer to provide the Lady Colonels with some breathing room, 4-1.
Evanich went the first 5.2 innings and allowed five hits and one unearned run to pick up the win and improve to 8-7. Agresti who struck out three in 1.1 innings of relief work, was credited with her first save of the season. Smith (12-6) pitched six innings and allowed six hits and three runs to take the loss for FDU-Florham.
Stefanelli and Dalton were two-time hitters for Wilkes in the contest. FDU-Florham had five hits by five different players. Smith’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Devils.
Wilkes opened the day with a 5-0 win over Delaware Valley to eliminate the Aggies. The game was tied at 0-0 before Bracone launched a two-run homer in the third to provide the Lady Colonels with a 2-0 lead.
Wilkes tacked on three runs in the fifth inning to pull away. Stefanelli reached on an error and Bracone singled to set the stage for a run-scoring double by Plank that scored Stefanelli and made it 3-0. Henry followed with a two-run single to up the lead to 5-0.
That was more than enough for Agresti, who twirled a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts to pick up the win. Jennifer Bummer (7-6) suffered the loss for Delaware Valley after allowing six hits and two earned runs in six innings.
Bracone and Plank had two hits each for Wilkes. Kim Harle and Maureen Ferguson had the hits for Delaware Valley.