WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams College softball team made it back-to-back NESCAC Tournament championships Sunday, defeating rival Amherst 9-1 in a five-inning game shortend by the eight-run mercy rule.
The Ephs earn the conference's automatic qualifier into the Div. III NCAA Tournament and will find out if they will be hosting a regional Monday afternoon. Williams improved to 31-10 on the season, and 24-1 since returning from its spring trip to California.
"We played well in all respects this weekend," Ephs' head coach Kris Herman said. "Three great pitching performances, impressive power and clutch hitting and an overall great team effort. Every single kid made a difference."
Casey Pelz was 3 for 3 for the Ephs, while Jessica Kim, Lexi Curt and Margo Beck were each 2 for 3. Williams scored in every inning and finished with 12 hits over four frames. Mackenzie Murphy pitched all five innings for the Ephs, giving up only three hits without walking a batter.
The Ephs jumped on Amherst starter Lauren Tulskula for a run in the bottom of the first when Kim led off with a double and scored two batters later on a Murphy RBI-single. A four-run second really put the pressure on the Mammoths. With one out, Pelz ripped a double and took third on an error. Riley Salvo drew a walk and was pinch run for by senior Alison Michalik, who stole second.
Next up was sophomore Kristina Alvarado, who picked a great time for her first home run of the season, launching a three-run blast to left for a 4-0 lead. Kim followed that with a double to right and she scored when Curt drilled an RBI-single to center for a 5-0 Williams lead.
Down 6-0 in the fourth, Amherst got on the board with a sacrifice fly by Katie Kopatic, but the Ephs answered immediately when Curt blasted her 10th home run of the season, a solo shot to center that made it 7-1. After a double by Rebecca Duncan and a single from Beck helped put runners on second and third with two outs, Pelz grounded a two-run single to left for the eight-run lead.
Murphy quietly closed the door on Amherst in the fifth, allowing a harmless one-out single before inducing a pop out to short and a comebacker to the circle to end it.