By Brendan Coughlin
With the postseason on the horizon, Bridgewater State University softball will have to prove themselves worthy as the preseason favorite in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).
Only two games remain in conference play for the Bears, as they sit in third place, two games behind both Worcester State University and MCLA. The top two teams in the conference are awarded a first-round bye in the MASCAC tournament.
Last week was a crucial opportunity for the softball team to climb the MASCAC standings.
On Sat., April 18, BSU showed their best side by shutting out Fitchburg State University in both games of their doubleheader on a beautiful, sunny day at Alumni Park in Bridgewater.
On the day, sophomore stud pitcher Kelly McCarthy tossed two complete game shutouts in a dominating performance.
In game one, Bridgewater took the win, 4-0. McCarthy only allowed three hits to Fitchburg, while her team took care of business on the offensive side.
Both sophomore Sam LoPilato and junior Karissa Pagan doubled and scored in the second inning to begin the scoring.
Sophomore Courtney Leddy continued her hot streak and went 3-for-4 at the plate, including doubling in the third inning, then scoring on a base hit from senior Jessica Laudati. The final run came on an RBI base hit by Leddy.
Game two was a pitcher’s duel up until the fifth inning when Bridgewater broke the game open. Sophomore Breanna Shaffer had two of the three RBIs for her team in the 3-0 victory.
The second McCarthy shutout of the day continued after a home run was called back from Fitchburg after BSU successfully appealed that Fitchburg’s Gia Ferreira missed home plate.
BSU entered Tues. April 21 even with MCLA (8-2 MASCAC) in the conference standings but were outmatched by the visiting team in a doubleheader at Alumni Park.
In the first of two games, the Bears fell behind 4-0, but made a rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, taking advantage of MCLA’s mistakes.
Leddy singled and then scored the first run on a wild pitch. The second BSU run was scored by LoPilato who reached on an error and was drove in with a big time RBI triple from Laudati.
With the winning runs on base in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Bears were unable to assemble two more runs and dropped the game 4-2.
The second half of the doubleheader was more of the same. MCLA defeated Bridgewater 4-1 in a major setback for the Bears as they try to secure a first round bye.
Sitting at third place in the MASCAC, BSU will take the field at Framingham State this Saturday Apr. 25 for their final two conference games of the season.
Bridgewater will need to ride the success of their ace McCarthy and get the bats going before tournament season gets under way.
Brendan Coughlin is the Sports Editor for The Comment.