Women’s softball advances to the Liberty League finals

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The Union Softball team made it all the way to the championship of the Liberty League tournament before falling to Rochester 5-0 in Saturday morning’s final. Union’s road to the championship game started on Thursday with a 5-0 loss in the first round of the double-elimination tournament. Thursday’s loss to the second-seeded RPI Engineers came at the hands of pitcher Kristina Weltzin ’15, who hurled seven shutout innings to earn the win.

Union’s Allyson Staats ’15, threw six innings of her own, however RPI got to her for three runs in the third inning and one more in both the fifth and sixth innings. Thursday’s loss in the tournament opener thrust Union into the loser’s bracket, where one more loss would eliminate them from the tournament. Union kicked off their Friday with a game against the fourth-seeded Skidmore Thoroughbreds, who also lost their tournament opener to the first-seeded Rochester Yellowjackets. The Dutchwomen answered the call Friday afternoon with a 2-0 win over Rochester, this time behind a strong bounce back performance from Staats, who threw seven scoreless innings in the victory.

Both of Union’s runs came in the bottom of the fifth, with RBI singles coming from Lindsay Cohen ’15 and Brianna Godlewski ’17. Staats notched her 14th win of the season in the afternoon’s affair, however she would have a short recovery time, as the win against Skidmore would set up a rematch with RPI in the tournament semifinals.

In game two of Friday’s doubleheader, the Dutchwomen took on RPI for the second time in two days, this time with a spot in the Liberty League Championship Game on the line. After RPI beat Union on Thursday, the Engineers had a chance to clinch a spot in the title game earlier in the day with a match against Rochester, however Rochester prevailed 6-0, forcing RPI into an elimination game with Union. Behind her second strong pitching performance of the day, Staats threw seven innings of one-run softball to earn her 15th win of the season. With the game knotted at one heading into the sixth inning, Union came through in the clutch, as Molly O’Brien ’16 reached on a fielding error that plated Makenzie Michel ’16, who scored what ultimately proved to be the game-winning run.

Union’s sweep of its doubleheader Friday afternoon advanced them to the championship game, where they would meet Rochester. With the double-elimination format of the tournament, Union faced the task of needing to beat Rochester twice in order win the tournament, whereas Rochester would have two potential tries to earn just one win to clinch the tournament. Facing their third elimination game in less than 24 hours, the Dutchwomen fell to the Yellowjackets by a final score of 5-0. Rochester earned their second straight Liberty League Championship with the victory. Again, Staats got the start at pitcher, this time throwing six innings, giving up five runs, three earned. The two unearned runs were the result of a trio of errors committed by the Union defense.

For the second time in the tournament, the offense was shutout, and the Dutchwomen finished the tournament with just four runs in four games. The loss ended the season for the Union Softball team, who finished with a record of 15-20. The team will not face competition until next March.

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