Women's Softball Wins First-Ever Skyline Crown; NCAA Bid
Brooklyn, NY - It was a game that will surely be remembered as one of the most thrilling matchups in the NYU-Poly softball program's history. Fortunately, for the Lady Jays it had a sweet ending, as NYU-Poly defeated Farmingdale 8-7 in 8 innings to capture its first-ever Skyline Conference title. In doing so, the Lady Jays earn the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament which starts May 14 at a site to be determined by the NCAA selection committee.
In the bottom of the 8th, senior Laura Buzzard (Warrington, PA) was placed at 2nd base, as part of the tie-breaker rule. Freshmen Corinne Fitzgibbons (Brooklyn, NY) was intentionally walked. With no outs, sophomore Katie Jo Sunday (West Lawn, PA) grounded out to Farmingdale pitcher Hope Zino, advancing the runners. That set up the walk-off heroics of freshmen Natalie Stockinger (Putnam Valley, NY), who poked a base-hit just over the second basemen to bring home Buzzard and send NYU-Poly to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
But the day didn't start off well for the Lady Jays, as Zino pitched a no-hiter in game one, shutting out NYU-Poly 11-0 in five innings. Zino was near perfect allowing just three base-runners, all on free passes. Meanwhile, freshmen NYU-Poly pitcher Miranda Merilli (Altoona, PA) struggled with her control and the Lady Jays arguably played their worst defensive game since the beginning of the season, committing four errors. Lady Rams shortstop Nicole Farber belted two homeruns, driving in five RBI. That put both teams at 2-1 in the double-elimination tournament.
In game two, both teams laid it all on the line, with NYU-Poly taking an early 3-0 lead after three innings. Freshmen Shelby Bruns (Elko, NV) scored once and drove one in during the first three innings. However, Farmingdale answered in the top of the fourth when the Lady Jays decided to walk Farber. But Aubrey Walker would make that decision look bad as she belted a 2-run homer to make the game 3-2. Three batters later Jen Jarczynski smacked a 2-run single to give the Lady Rams the 4-3 lead.
The see-saw game continued as NYU-Poly's Fitgibbons put the Lady Jays back in front, as she hit her 15th homer of the season, a three run blast, putting NYU-Poly up 6-4. With the wind howling out, Farmingdale's Elizabeth Escobar got in on the home run parade in the top of the fifth, The right-fielder scorched a Merilli pitch over the center-field wall to put the defending Skyline champs back on top 7-6.
NYU-Poly would leave the bases loaded in the sixth inning before the dramatic seventh inning. Junior Tara Bucci (Montgomery, NJ) smashed a double to right-center and was sacrificed to third by freshmen Liz Schrandt (Newton, PA). Senior Natasha Taylor (Portland, ME) followed with singled to left, and the ball went through the legs of left-fielder Rebecca Richman. Bucci easily scored to tie the game, and Taylor tried to round the bases, leading to a close play at home. Taylor appeared to slide under the tag on her left shoulder, but the umpire called her out.
NYU-Poly, whose 20 game winning streak was snapped in game one, improved to 31-9 overall. Fitzgibbons was named the Tournament's Most Valuable Player.