Cortland Sports Information Department
CLINTON, N.Y. – Mackenzie Murphy hit a game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh and singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as top-seeded and nationally fourth-ranked Williams College defeated second-seeded and nationally 24th-ranked SUNY Cortland, 9-8, to win the NCAA Division III Softball Cortland, New York Regional.
The championship round was postponed at Cortland on Sunday and moved to Hamilton College's turf field on Monday morning due to the weather. Williams entered Monday's action needing just one win to claim the regional title. Cortland needed either two wins, or a win in the first game and for the second game to be rained out, to win the regional.
Regional Tournament Web Page
Williams (36-5) advances to play Ithaca College in a best-of-three super regional starting Friday at a site to be announced. Cortland (31-16) finishes tied for 17th in the NCAA tournament in the last season for head coach Julie Lenhart, who is retiring after 25 seasons at the Red Dragon helm. Lenhart closes with a combined record of 946-406-2 (.699) in 30 years as a collegiate head coach, including an 826-329-2 (.715) mark at Cortland. She led the Red Dragons to 17 NCAA tournament appearances and 12 SUNYAC titles.
Three Cortland players were named to the regional all-tournament team: outfielder Sabrina Caputo (Westbury/W.T. Clarke) (.500 average (7-for-14), two doubles, walk, seven RBI, six runs in four games); outfielder Kelly O'Gorman (Clifton Park/Shenendehowa) (.438 average (7-for-16), three doubles, one triple, three walks, five runs in four games); and shortstop Taylor Felicello (Marlboro) (.333 average (3-for-9), four walks, four sacrifices, hit by pitch).
Williams pitcher/outfielder Rebecca Duncan was named the regional's Most Outstanding Player. She earned the win in the title game three earned runs allowed and nine strikeouts in eight innings and was also 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored. Murphy, Jessica Kim and Casey Pelz also represented Williams on the all-tournament team. Murphy finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBI, Kim was 2-for-3 with a walk and four RBI, and Pelz was 1-for-4 after going a combined 4-for-6 in Williams' first two regional wins. Rounding out the all-tourney squad were St. John Fisher's MaryClaire Grosvenor and Sarah Kubik and Framingham State's Camille Desrochers.
Cortland took a 4-0 lead with two runs in the top of the first and two in the third. Alyssa Finno(Kingston) singled in the two first-inning runs. The third inning featured a Caputo RBI double and Hannah Feldman's (Buffalo/Sweet Home) RBI single.
Williams got on the board in the third with a Kim two-out RBI single. The Ephs plated four runs in the bottom of the fifth to go ahead 5-4. The inning started with an error and a walk, followed by a Duncan single to load the bases. Kim then cleared the bases with a three-run double to right center to tie the game, and two batters later Murphy lifted a fly ball to right for a go-ahead sac fly.
Cortland got a runner on via error with one out in the top of the seventh. The next batter appeared to hit into a game-ending double play, but the runner going to second was called safe as the fielder missed the bag, although the batter was still thrown out. A throwing error on a grounder by Skyler Hoyt (Endicott/Union-Endicott) allowed the tying run to score, Tori Scharff(Poughkeepsie/Arlington) followed with a two-run single to center, and Cailey Cuttita (Clifton Park/Shenendehowa) singled in a run and Cortland led 8-5 entering the bottom of the seventh.
Kristina Alvarado started the Ephs' tying rally with her second walk of the game and Duncan reached on an infield single. The next two batters were retired on a sac bunt and a strikeout, but Murphy dramatically tied the game with a homer to left on a 3-2 pitch.
Cortland got runners to first and second in the eighth and first and third in the ninth but couldn't score in either inning. Alvarado led off the bottom of the ninth with a clean single to right, but she kept on running and caught Cortland off guard to turn it into a double. Duncan bunted Alvarado to third, Kim walked, and Mara Kipnis was intentionally walked to load the bases. Murphy ended the game and sent the Ephs to the super regionals with a clean single to the gap in right center.
O'Gorman, Caputo and Cuttita each finished the game with two hits and Scharff and Finno each drove in two runs. Caupto scored three times and O'Gorman crossed the plate twice. Sam Van Dorn (Medford/Patchogue-Medford) started, and also re-entered with one out in the ninth, and finished with five runs allowed, three earned, on eight hits with three walks in six innings.