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Softball team ranked 14th in nation in Division III poll

By web

Section: Sports

April 23, 2010

PITCHING: Emily Vailette pitches against East Connecticut State in Thursday’s game.
PHOTO BY Andrew Rauner/The Hoot

The Brandeis University softball team has been on fire all year, and their dream season continued with more highlights this past week. After unleashing two more monster performances at Wesleyan, the Judges are beginning to receive significant national attention. And while the success belongs to the entire team, two of Brandeis’ stars have been singled out with special praise for their glittering achievements on the diamond.

Pitcher Emily Vaillette ’10 was the first to get an individual honor. Her spectacular season earned her a feature article in the sports section of the April 16 edition of the Nashua Telegraph, a New Hampshire newspaper. Vaillette attended Milford High School, located near Nashua, and the Telegraph reports that she led the Milford softball team to two straight Class I title games and a state championship.

Vaillette should have had the chance to show off her skills on the same day during Brandeis’ doubleheader at Framingham State, but she was denied by an opponent even she can’t defeat: the weather. Rain caused the games to be postponed, and a make-up date has yet to be scheduled.

The delay only stoked Vaillette’s fire, and she came out throwing smoke to the batters in the first game against Wesleyan on Saturday, April 17. She pitched six innings and won the game, allowing only four hits, fanning six batters, and preventing a single Cardinal from reaching farther than second base.

Meanwhile, Stacy Berg ’13 socked a two-run homer in the first inning to put the Judges ahead. The score remained 2-0 until the seventh, when the Judges exploded for six runs on five hits, with the key plays coming on a solo home run by Erin Ross ’10 and a two-run single from Marianne Specker ’12. Meaghan Dendy was saddled with the loss in the 8-0 Brandeis win.

The nightcap showed that the Judges were just getting started. The first inning began with Melisa Cagar ’11 hitting a single, stealing second and scoring on a single from Brittany Grimm ’12. Erin Ross followed shortly thereafter with a two-run single, and the rout was on. By the time Brandeis picked up its gloves for the first time, they had a 13-0 lead. The game ended after five innings with a score of 17-4. Specker plated a total of four base runners, including herself on a two-run home run, and Ross had a total of 3 RBIs. Allie Mussen ’10 didn’t have her best start ever, allowing four runs in three innings, but it was more than enough to earn the victory and run her season record to 4-0.

On April 21, Emily Berg got a nice surprise when she was named UAA Hitter of the Week for her performance from April 12-18.

During that time, Berg went 8 for 10 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in four Brandeis wins, in which the team scored a total of 45 runs.

On the same day, the Judges moved up to 14th in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll of Division III softball programs, matching the same ranking they reached earlier this season.

Unfortunately, their first outing sporting the new ranking didn’t go as well as they hoped.

On April 22, Eastern Connecticut State visited Waltham and made their presence felt quickly with a two-run homer in the first inning. After five frames, Brandeis was in a 3-0 hole and had failed to record a single hit against Warriors pitcher Molly Rathbun.

In the sixth, Chelsea Korp ’13 finally punched through a single, and Melisa Cagar followed by knocking the ball out of the park, slicing the deficit to one. However, Rathbun sent the Judges back to the dugout 1-2-3 in the seventh, and the game was over at 3-2.

The game was interrupted by a 45-minute delay in the fourth inning due to lightning, and the later half of the doubleheader started behind schedule. The two teams battled to a 3-3 tie in the fourth inning, but it had to be called because of darkness before becoming official.

Brandeis is now 22-6-1 on the year, including an 8-2-1 record at home, a 7-1 away record and a 7-3 record at neutral sites. The team will stay at home for a doubleheader against Babson on April 27 and then go to Rhode Island College for a doubleheader on April 29

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