Fordham Softball Defeats Saint Joseph's For First-Ever Atlantic 10 Championship, 4-0
May 14, 2011
Charlotte, N.C. - When Saint Joseph's and Fordham met earlier in the season, they each split a doubleheader in the Bronx. The Hawks won, in a strange way, beating the Rams 1-0 on an infield popup that the wind took and the ball landed safely. On that play, the runner went on contact (because there were two outs) and scored from second. Strange things happened in the 4-0 Fordham win on Saturday, in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well.
According to the calendar, the championship game took place on Saturday, May 14, but, with all the odd occurrences in the game, it might still have been Friday the thirteenth. In the end, Fordham supplemented its regular season crown with the A-10 Championship with the victory.
In a game that featured two aces in Fordham's Jen Mineau and Saint Joseph's Erin Gallagher, the pitchers were the story early. Mineau, a First-Team All Atlantic 10 performer, opened the game by striking out the side. Gallagher, herself a Second Team selection, retired the Rams in order in the bottom of the inning. The exemplary performance of Mineau was the only event that was true-to-form in the game.
The plot twists began in the game in the second inning. The first base runner of the game for either side came when the Hawks' Deanna Stinner was hit by a Mineau offering with two outs. Mineau then struck out Taylor Korpita to end the top of the inning. A black cat must have crossed across the Saint Joseph's dugout in the bottom of the frame because Fordham scored twice without getting a hit.
Jamie LaBovick led off with a walk. Beckah Wiggins then put runners on first and second with a grounder that was misplayed by Bernadette Moran at second base for an error. Gabby Luety then walked to load the bases for Jessica Crowley. Crowley scorched a grounder to shortstop and Hawks' infielder Dana Bieniek threw home to try and get LaBovick, but the throw sailed high and both LaBovick and Wiggins scored. Two batters later, and with two outs and a runners on second and third, Jocelyn Dearborn hit a grounder to short and the shortstop went to third to get the tag on Crowley. Jessica Richards, who had come in to run for Luety, appeared to have crossed the plate before the out was recorded (therefore the run should count), however the umpire ruled the out was first and disallowed the run. Coach Bridget Orchard disputed the call, but it was to no avail. Nevertheless, the Rams led 2-0 after two innings.
Fordham pressed the lead to 4-0, just one inning later. Nicole Callahan ripped her first of two hits in the game up the middle for a single. Brianna Ciuffi came in to run for her. Samantha Pellechio then went the other way with a scorching line drive off the glove of Saint Joseph's first baseman Alaina Loguidice and into the right field corner. In another unusual turn of events, the right fielder, Shannon Kramer put her hands up as the ball was near the tarp, hoping it was ruled a dead ball. The ball, however, was still in play and Ciuffi came around to score from first. Pellechio chugged for third, and when Kramer's hurried throw was offline to the plate, Pellechio scored. The play was ruled a triple for Pellechio,and a throwing error on Kramer. The runs ended up being earned, however, because later in the inning Wiggins walked and Chelsea Palumbo smashed a single into left field. At this point, Gallagher gave way to Taryn Ashway. Ashway shut down the Rams in the rest of the inning.
Mineau shut the door the rest of the way and the Rams held on for the 4-0 win, and took home the school's first-ever Atlantic 10 Championship in softball. After the final out, the girls stormed the field to congratulate the battery, Mineau and Luety, on a fine performance.
Mineau gave up one hit, a single, struck out 10 and didn't walk a batter. She was named the Most Outstanding Player in the championship. Beckah Wiggins and Samantha Pellechio were also feted to the All Tournament Team.
The team, now 41-17, has to wait until the announcement of whom they will be playing. The NCAA selection show airs at 10:00 P.M. Eastern Time on Sunday, May 15 on ESPNU.