WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Williams sophomore Casey Pelz's two-out RBI-single in the bottom of the fifth inning broke up a scoreless pitcher's duel and first-year Rebecca Duncan made it stand up Sunday as the Williams College softball team defeated RPI, 1-0, to win the Williamstown, Mass. Regional of the NCAA Div. III Tournament.
With the victory the Ephs advance to the NCAA Super Regional, a best-to-out-of-three series with the winner of the Babson Park, Mass. Regional between Rowan College and Babson College. Those games will be played Monday after which a site for next weekend will be announced.
The Ephs improved to 34-10 with the win, a remarkable 27-1 since returning from their spring trip to California.
"It was a great team effort on the field and in the dugout," Ephs' head coach Kris Herman said. "All three pitchers stymied the opposition this weekend. We got clutch hitting from all parts of our order. Everybody's clicking on all cylinders and excited for next weekend."
Sunday's Regional Final was softball at its finest; solid fielding, clutch hitting and a tremendous pitcher's duel between RPI's Stephanie Caudle and Williams' Duncan. The Engineers put the lead-off runner on in each of the first two innings courtesy of the only free passes issued by the Williams first year, but each time did not score.
In the first, after a sacrifice bunt moved Victoria Greco into scoring position with one out, Duncan struck out the Engineer's No. 3 and 4 hitters. After the lead-off walk to Lillian Kolehmainen in the second, Duncan fanned the next two hitters, gave up a single to Maddie Provencher, then fanned the final batter of the frame.
On the other side, Caudle was perfect through four innings until Duncan led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. Margo Beck dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt to get Duncan in scoring position. After a strikeout, Pelz chopped a two-hop grounder through the third base-shortstop hole and Duncan came home with the game's only run.
Protecting that one-run lead, Duncan struck out the side in the top of the sixth. In the seventh, Engineer Cam Caswell grounded a single back up the middle with one out to put the tying run on base. Provencher then ripped a line drive that was snared by Eph shortstop Jessica Kim, who quickly fired to first to double off Caswell and end the game.
Duncan improved to 15-4, tossing her third complete-game shutout of the season by scattering four hits over seven innings, walking just two and striking out 10. Caudle was equally impressive, allowing only three hits over six innings. She did not walk a batter and fanned six.
Duncan, Pelz and Kim had the Ephs hits. Provencher was 2 for 3 for RPI, while Chelsea Elliott and Caswell had one hit each.
Sydney LeBourveau, Thomas College
Antoinette Galbo, The College of Staten Island
Patricia Riches, The College of Staten Island
Cam Caswell, RPI
Lillian Kolehmainen, RPI
Stephanie Caudle, RPI
Casey Pelz, Williams
Jessica Kim, Williams
Mackenzie Murphy, Williams
Rebecca Duncan, Williams (Most Outstanding Player)