Saint Joseph's (Maine) rolls to third consecutive GNAC tournament title
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Tournament most valuable player Kayla Vannah threw five shutout innings and was backed by eight first-inning runs as fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine) defeated Suffolk 8-0 to win the Great Northeast Athletic Conference softball championship Sunday.
Saint Joseph's (33-9) went through the tournament unbeaten, winning four games to win its third consecutive league championship. The Monks qualified for the NCAA tournament and will begin regional play May 9 at a site to be announced. Eight regional winners advance the national championship round on May 17-21 at Eau Claire, Wis.
Vannah allowed four hits, walked one and struck out three. For the tournament, she threw 18.1 scoreless innings, struck out 12 and walked one.
The Monks gave Vannah all the runs she would need early as the first seven Monks reached base and scored. Danielle Shufelt beat out an infield single and Connie Grovo and Lindsay Moore had bunt singles to load the bases. Heather Tripp then singled to right to score Shufelt and stake the Monks to a 1-0 lead. Theresa Hendrix followed with a two-run single to center and the lead grew to 3-0. Melissa Mayhew had a bunt single and again the Monks loaded the bases. Alyssa Wade hit an infield grounder and a play at the plate resulted in an errant throw and two more runs scored for a 5-0 lead. Victoria Ramos drew a one-out walk and Shufelt followed with her second hit of the inning, a three-run triple to the fence in left center, to conclude the scoring.
Shufelt finished with three hits on the day and Hendrix two. Julia Ludvigsen had a single and a double for Suffolk (16-25).
In addition to Vannah, being named to the all-tournament team were Shufelt, Hendrix and Moore from Saint Joseph's; Alicia Gonnella, Sarah Chasse and Erin McAndrews from Suffolk; Emily Hummel and Mary Sciglimpaglia from the University of St. Joseph (Conn.); and Kirstie Clark and Marissa Mercier from Rivier.