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Softball finishes 18-12 as Bowdoin advances to NESCACs

LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates softball settled for a tie for the team wins record after dropping both games of a doubleheader to Bowdoin on Sunday and finishing 18-12.

Bowdoin clinched second place in the NESCAC East Division with a 12-4, six-inning win in Game 1, and the Polar Bears made it a rout with a 10-0, five-inning win in Game 2.

Bowdoin (28-12, 8-4 NESCAC East) advances to play in next weekend's NESCAC Softball Championship at Amherst, while Bates finishes the season at 18-12 overall and 5-7 in the NESCAC East, for third place in the division. The Bobcats matched the most wins in team history, tying the 18-13 club of 2002.

Yesterday's 4-2 win at Bowdoin kept Bates' hopes for postseason play alive to the last day of the regular season, but Bowdoin turned a 1-0 game after three innings into a chase for the Bobcats, scoring two runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and six more in the sixth for a 12-2 lead. Bates got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn't avoid invoking the 8-runs-ahead rule.

Bates' Game 1 starter, senior Kristen Finn (Winthrop, Mass.), cruised through 1-2-3 innings through the first two frames, but Bowdoin got on the scoreboard in the third inning as Hillary Smyth walked, stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a hard single up the middle by Gen Barlow.

Bowdoin's bats got cranking in the fourth inning, as soon as Casey Correa hammered a leadoff home run to left field, her eighth this year. Three straight singles by the Polar Bears led to Courtney Colantuno reaching third base, then scoring on a throwing error. Bowdoin had runners on second and third with two out when Barlow was robbed of a home run with a spectacular catch made by senior Kelly McManus (Plymouth, N.H.) while tumbling over the fence in dead center field, keeping Bowdoin's lead at 6-0.

The Polar Bears continued to hit the ball on the nose with three runs in the fifth. DaCampo ripped a double down the left-field line to lead off, and she trotted home when Amy Hackett delivered Bowdoin's second round-tripper of the game, her fourth of the season, prompting Bates head coach Gwen Lexow to replace Finn with first-year lefthander Brenna Callahan (Milton, Mass.). Callahan allowed one more run to Bowdoin in the inning, on an RBI single by Victoria Rusch.

Bates still entertained hopes of staging a comeback, especially after plating a pair of runs with a two-out rally in the fifth. Senior Karen Ullmann (Ramsey, N.J.) beat out an infield single and stole second base before McManus drilled a double that hit the fence in left-center on one hop, scoring Ullmann with Bates' first run. Senior Leah Maciejewski (Tewksbury, Mass.) then rapped a single up the middle to close the gap to 6-2.

Bowdoin dashed Bates' hopes in their six-run sixth inning, collecting five hits and a walk in the inning off of Callahan and Bates' third pitcher, first-year Kelsey Freedman (Falmouth, Maine), while taking advantage of one Bates error and a pair of wild pitches.

Bates made a lot of hard contact with the ball against Bowdoin starter Tricia Thibodeau (10-5), but too often they were at Bowdoin fielders. The error-free Polar Bears made some strong plays in the field as well, most notably Hillary Smyth's running snag of a line drive by Maciejewski.

Bates still had sole possession of the team wins record to play for in Game 2, as well as the CBB title, but the Polar Bears denied the Bobcats almost before they could take a turn at bat, plating six runs in the top of the first inning off of Game 2 starter Freedman (8-3). Smyth grounded out to lead off the inning, but the next eight Polar Bears reached base safely, with DaCampo, Hackett and Cielle Collins all collecting RBI singles.

Bowdoin kept up the pace in the second, as Barlow led off with a triple into the left-field corner, and DaCampo drove her home with a home run just over the fence in left center, for an 8-0 Bowdoin lead after two innings.

Bowdoin's Game 2 starter, Nancy Walker (4-0), held Bates scoreless on three hits and two walks over five innings, and DaCampo went 4-for-4 at the plate and drove in her fourth run of the game with a single to center field in the fifth.

Game 1 Box Score

Game 2 Box Score