Walk-off single powers Cyclones
Montferrat wins Tournament MVP (.545, three HRs, three RBIs)
DRIFTON, Pa. – Sarah Olsen hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded to score Jen Vasta, capping a wild 12-11 win for Centenary as it won the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Tournament for the first time in school history to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth. Sophomore catcher Cara Montferrat was named Tournament MVP.
Centenary won both of its games on Friday, defeating Immaculata, 4-1, and Marywood, 4-3, in eight innings. After Neumann dispatched Marywood in the first game on Saturday, 10-0 in six innings, the Knights handed CC its first CSAC Tournament loss, 10-2 in five innings, setting up a winner-take-all game for the Championship.
The Lady Cyclones found themselves trailing 2-0 after the top of the first inning. Weather then delayed the game almost three hours, and when the two teams got back on the field, Centenary got on the board thanks to an RBI single by Ali Knapp, scoring Nicole Fleming. But Neumann seemingly took control of the game with five runs in the third inning to take a commanding 7-1 advantage.
In the bottom of the third, Montferrat crushed a ball to deep right field for a solo shot, her 10th of the season.
Katie Ciecwisz and Olsen each singled and Ciecwisz came home on an error by Neumann’s first baseman. But the Knights were able to get out of the inning without further damage. In the next inning, however, Caitlin Veverka hit a two-run bomb to left field, scoring Gabrielle Pellegrino, and Olsen hit an RBI single to score Vasta, cutting NU’s lead to 7-6.
But the Knights bounced back, scoring two in the top of the fifth to increase their advantage to 9-6. After two scoreless frames, Centenary’s bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth. The Cyclones loaded the bases and Ciecwisz brought Veverka and Vasta home with a two-RBI single. Fleming then plated Montferrat and Ciecwisz scored on the play on another NU error. Knapp added another run with an RBI double as CC built an 11-9 lead heading to the top of the seventh.
Neumann was down but not out. The Knights scrapped out two runs with two outs in the top of the seventh to tie the game, setting up Olsen’s heroics. Kristin Durborow and Meagan Madsen each pitched for the Cyclones as Madsen recorded her 14th win of the year.
“What an unbelievable game,” said Centenary head coach Kim Broking. “I never doubted that we would come back. I knew we were going to win. I knew even when we were down 7-1. I knew we would score in the seventh, especially with Sarah at the plate and Jen at third base. I am so proud of the girls for how they have competed not only in the CSAC Tournament, but all season long.”
Montferrat was named the Tournament MVP after batting .545 (6-for-11) with three walks, five runs, two doubles, two home runs and three RBIs in CC’s four games.
“When Cara is up, you know she is getting on base,” said Broking. “She gets the job done, whether it’s a home run or a walk or single to keep an inning going. She had an amazing regular season and an even better tournament.”
Centenary will find out who and where it will be playing in the NCAA Tournament on Monday.