PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Freshman Devin Fellman’s RBI double in the sixth snapped a 4-4 tied as second-seeded Coast Guard came from behind to defeat seventh-seeded Lesley 7-4 in game four at the Providence Regional of the 2011 NCAA Division III Softball Championship played at Rhode Island College’s Dayna A. Bazar Softball Complex.
The Bears (37-2), ranked sixth nationally, were led by starter Hayley Feindel who set the NCAA Divison III career strikeout record in the third inning with her 1,166 career strikeout. She finished the game with 13 punch outs and 1,173 for her career, breaking the mark of 1,165 set by Jennifer Martinez of St. Joseph from 2006 to 2008.
Feindel improved to 36-2 on the season. She leads the nation in wins (36), strikeouts (424) and shutouts (26).
It was a difficult day for the fireballing righty, who was called for 23 illegal pitch infractions, but overcame that to get the win.
Lesley took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Feindel was called for 10 illegal pitches in the slow-moving frame. The umpires continually ruled that Feindel’s left foot was coming down outside of the pitcher’s area during her follow-through.
Lynx junior left fielder Gabrielle Brixey issued a leadoff walk due to four consecutive illegal pitch calls. She then was awarded, second, third and home due to additional rulings. Senior center fielder Alyson Durben was also issued a walk and moved up to third on more illegal pitches. Feindel composed herself to strike out freshman second baseman Nicole Mercurio to get out of the inning.
Unfortunately for Lesley’s junior starting pitcher Cassandra Knox, the umpiring crew took issue with her delivery as well. Coast Guard freshman shortstop Devin Fellman walked and advanced to third on two illegal pitches. Knox dodged a bullet as junior first baseman Maddie Buchert hit a shallow fly ball to right field. Freshman right fielder Maria Nazzaro made the catch, then gunned down Fellman at the plate.
The game grew more confusing as senior catcher Amanda Frederick doubled to right field. Lesley appealed and Frederick was called out for not touching first base. However, the pitch was illegal. The call was overturned and Frederick returned to the batter’s box, this time to crush a double to center field. Knox was called for an additional illegal pitch, which moved Frederick up to third. Lesley then turned to freshman pitcher Jennifer Dorval who relieved Knox and got the final out.
Coast Guard tied the game in the home half of the second. Sophomore right fielder Stacia Sarwinski was hit by a pitch and moved over to second on classmate left fielder Megan Cook’s single up the middle. Sophomore designated player Catherine Walker laid down a sacrifice bunt in front of the plate and Sarwinski came around to score as the attempted throw to get her at third base sailed into left field. Dorval held the fort and was able to get out of the frame without any further damage.
Lesley went back in front in the top of the third as Feindel loaded the bases on a hit batsman, walk and a single. Sophomore pinch runner Rian Powers came in from third on an illegal pitch call, and Durben trotted home from third soon thereafter when a throw down after a strikeout went into the outfield to give the Lynx a 3-1 advantage.
Dorval walked Sarwinski and freshman center fielder Kaitlin Ward in the fourth, but recovered to strike out junior second baseman Jamie Kim to end the threat.
The Lynx added a run in the fifth, which was started by a leadoff single from sophomore catcher Molly Sarson. She was sacrificed to second and moved over to third on an illegal pitch. Freshman second baseman Nicole Mercurio singled to left field to give Lesley a 4-1 advantage.
The Coast Guard bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth.
Fellman led off with a single and Buchert walked. Frederick came through with an RBI single to pull the Bears within 4-2. With runners on the corners, sophomore third baseman Holli Bastinck laced a single up the middle to bring in Buchert, and an error in the outfield allowed Frederick to come around from first with the tying run. Lesley caught a break after Bastinck was doubled off of second after a flyout to left field. That proved costly as Cook followed with a deep double to right center that would have brought in the go-ahead run. Dorval then induced a ground out to keep the game knotted.
Ward was hit by a pitch to start off the bottom of the sixth and was promptly sacrificed to second. Fellman came through with an RBI double to right center to give the Bears their first lead of the day. Buchert worked a walk and the pair moved up to second and third on a ground out. Bastinck broke the game open with a two-run double to the left field corner.
Fellman went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Bastinck went 2 for 4 with three key RBIs.
Dorval took the loss (15-3), allowing seven runs, six of which were earned, on seven hits in 5.1 innings of work.