NORTH ANDOVER, MA – With a 13-3 and 10-9 win over Pace University on Sunday, the Merrimack College softball team (17-26) sent off four seniors with a smile on Volpe Field despite falling short of a second straight trip to the Northeast-10 postseason.
Seniors Atlee Cahill (Gloucester, MA), Casey Conetta (Darien, CT), Emily Cummings (Andover, MA) and Jill Bradford (Stoneham, MA) were honored in between the two games on Volpe Field for their illustrious careers in North Andover. Entering the doubleheader, the quartet had combined for an even 200 hits in their career and added 12 on Sunday, including seven from Conetta who was battling with an injury that held her out of Saturday's doubleheader.
In game one, the Warriors scored at least two runs in all four innings they went to the plate in the 13-3, five-inning mercy-rule win.
Merrimack tallied 15 hits in the opener and reached a season-high with 13 runs scored. The 23 runs on the day is the most the Warriors have scored all year in a twin bill and the first time in 2010 they reached double digits in both contests.
The Warriors best inning offensively was the third when sophomore Monique Gosselin (Lawrence, MA) scored the final two runs (of six) with her ninth home run of the season to score junior Jamie Millett (Hudson, MA). Millett also had a day of her own, going 6-for-6 with six RBIs and a trio of doubles. She also stole a base in game one.
Conetta went 3-for-3 in game one and drove in four runs, including a two-run homer in the fourth to seal the deal.
The senior Cahill captured her seventh win of the season while allowing just four hits and striking out as many in five innings.
In game two, the Warriors scored seven runs in the first inning thanks in large part to a three-run bomb from junior catcher Kara Melillo (North Andover, MA). Later in the inning, Conetta, Millett and sophomore Amanda Zanni (Reading, MA) each hit an RBI double to give Merrimack a 7-1 lead at the end of one.
The Setters fought back though, with three runs in the second, two in the fourth and three in the seventh. The Warriors had built just enough of a cushion with 10 runs having scored two more in the third and another in the fifth on an RBI double from Millett. Millett—like Conetta in game two—went 4-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and two singles.
Despite being out-hit 15-13, the Warriors found a way to win game two, 10-9, and send off the seniors in their final game with a clean sweep of Pace.
Pitching by committee in game two, Cahill started and finished the game, but sophomore Alex Gallant (Salem, NH) and freshman Kelli Jo Deardorff (Bedford, MA) pitched two-plus innings each of relief to help the senior get her eighth win of the year and 15th of her career. Cahill also ended her career Sunday with a 3.78 ERA over 241 innings pitched and 92 strikeouts.
"I love our seniors," said Schwager. "They played like seniors today and I couldn't be more proud of them."