Smith sends one sailing as Kutztown drives ahead with 3-1 win against GVSU
SALEM, Va. -– Junior Colleen Smith belted a two-run homer in the first inning to help the Kutztown roll to a 3-1 win against ninth-ranked Grand Valley State in the opening round of the Division II National Softball Championship on Thursday at the James I. Moyer Sports Complex.
Kutztown has won a season-high 12 games in a row and is a perfect 10-0 in the postseason. It is also the second win against a ranked team this season (No. 7 California (Pa.) in the PSAC Championship).
Kutztown took advantage of a Laker fielding error in the first inning to get on the board early. With two outs, Katie Lynch reached on a throwing error by the third baseman. The following at-bat, Smith belted a two-run homer to deep right field on a full count to get Kutztown the early 2-0 lead.
Grand Valley answered with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning to cut Kutztown's lead to 2-1.
From there, sophomore pitcher Dominique Ficara kept the Lakers off the scoreboard as she pitched through the fourth inning. The sophomore faced her toughest task in the third inning as she fought out of a bases loaded situation to keep the one-run lead.
In four innings, Ficara allowed three runs with a pair of strikeouts. She earned her sixth consecutive winning decision including each of the last five games.
Fellow sophomore Mary Kociencki took the circle for Ficara in the fifth and continued her excellent play in the postseason. She hurled three scoreless innings and allowed three hits with a strikeout. She picked up her second consecutive save and is one of 11 players in Kutztown history to have multiple saves in a season.
Kutztown tacked on an insurance run in the sixth inning. With two outs, Maria Isgro and Nicole Henninger reached base as senior shortstop Brianna Knipe drove in Isgro from second with an RBI single to left field.