Eight-Run Fourth Inning Propels Pfeiffer to 2019 ECAC Softball Title
Erie, Pa. – The third-seed Pfeiffer University claimed its second straight ECAC Softball Championship on Saturday afternoon with a 9-1 win over first-seed Penn State Behrend. The Falcons improved to 36-7 to end the season.
Senior Kiana Millsaps (Taylorsville, N.C.) earned the ECAC All-Tournament Team and Most Valuable Player honors, picking up the win in the circle. She allowed four hits in five innings and one run, and didn't surrender a fly-ball out in the tournament.
After three straight scoreless, Pfeiffer pushed eight runs across the plate in the top of the fourth to take the lead. Junior Makenzie Pennell (Taylorsville, N.C.) opened the inning up with a single to center and later advanced to second as Millisaps reached first on an error by the shortstop. Both runners later advanced a base each on a wild pitch with no outs. Sophomore Reece Davis (Hickory, N.C.) singled up the middle that drove in Pennell from third and the throw home that bounced away from the catcher allowed Millisaps to score and Davis to advance all the way to third.
With one down now in the frame, sophomore catcher Sara Brown (Franklin County, Va.) singled to third that allowed Davis to score to make it, 3-0. A hit by a pitch to freshman Hannah Tyner (Carthage, N.C.) put runners on first and second now for the Falcons with freshman Maranda Benton (Midland, N.C.) coming to the plate, who reached first on an error by the shortstop to load the bases. Senior Vada Blue Sherrill (Hiddenite, N.C.) singled up the middle to push Brown and Tyner across the plate to make it, 5-0. Benton took third on the play. Sherrill later stole second to put both runners in scoring position. A wild pitch allowed Benton to score and Sherrill to take third to give the Falcons a 6-0 lead. Now with two outs, Pennell comes up for the second time in the inning and this time she belts a two-run home run over the left field wall to make it, 8-0, before the inning came to a close.
With one down in the bottom of the fourth, Penn State Behrend (28-12) senior AJ Nichols (Pittsburgh, Pa.) doubled to the right center field gap and later moved to third on a single to left field by junior Alayna Derzak (Seven Fields, Pa.). Nichols scored as freshman Kylee Bundy (DuBois, Pa.) reached first on a fielder's choice to make it, 8-1. Derzak out on the play at second. A strikeout ended the inning for the Lions.
The Falcons added another run on two hits in the top of the fifth to take a 9-1 lead. With one down, senior Kari Westerbeek (Warsaw, N.C.) singled to left center before being pinched run for by freshman Hallie Chisholm (Randleman, N.C.). Brown tallied her second hit of the game as she singled to center to put runners on first and second. With two on now for Tyner, she reached first on an error by the right fielder that allowed Chisholm to score from second before the inning came to a close on a fielder's choice and a strikeout.
Pennell finished the day going 2-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a home run for Pfeiffer, and earned All-Tournament Team. Teammates Brown and Sherrill each tallied a pair of hits and combined for three RBIs and two runs scored. Teammates Sherrill, Selby and Davis were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
Lion's pitcher Nichols took the loss in the circle as she six runs on four hits in 3.1 innings of work. She also went 1-for-2 at the plate with a double and a run scored. She also earned All-Tournament Team honors with teammate senior Carson Hauser (Westfield, N.Y.).