WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — To make sure a late run at the postseason ended in success, a lot had to go right for the Williams College softball team.
It nearly all did.
However, the Ephs stranded nine baserunners in the nightcap of a doubleheader with Hamilton Saturday, falling to the Continentals 4-1 to end their postseason hopes. Williams, which won the opener 5-2 behind a dramatic two-out pinch hit from first year Priscilla Pino, moved to 15-20 overall anf 7-5 in the NESCAC West Division, tied with Wesleyan, who was swept by Middlebury Saturday. Earlier in the season, the Cardinals took two out of three from Williams, thus earning second place in the division and the final playoff spot.
Hamilton moved to 12-20 overall, 2-10 in the NESCAC West.
The first game was a pitcher's dual between Hamilton's Amy Appel and Emma Harrington of Williams, who shut out the Continentals on Friday. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when Williams senior Kaitlin Dinet lined a two-run single to left that scored Ali Graebner and Kacey Cramer.
Hamilton answered quickly, ending Harrington's 11 2/3 scoreless streak against them with two outs in the top of the fifth when senior Melissa Kaknis laucnhed a two-run homer to left that tied the game, 2-2.
It stayed tied until the bottom of the sixth. Appel got two quick outs before Eph sophomore Mo Frank singled up the middle. Dinet follwed with a single between third and short and first year Melissa Cendejas was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Pino, out in the bullpen for much of the game, was called into to pinch-hit and delivered a solid sock to right that scotred Frank and Dinet. Cendejas also came around to score when the ball skirted past the Hamilton right fielder.
Harrington earned the win, giving up nine hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out six. Appel took the loss, allowing just five gits over six innings while issuing no walks and striking out three.
Dinet was 2 for 3 for Williams. Kelly Leonard was 3 for 4 for Hamilton while Chelsea Merritt went 2 for 3.
With Wesleyan's 10-2 loss to Middlebury in game one of their doubleheader, a Williams win and a Wesleyan loss in the nightcap of their respective twinbills would give the Ephs a spot in the NESCAC Tournament.
But Hamilton struck first in the top of the second when Leonard and Monique St. Jarre smacked back-to-back singles. A sacrifice bunt put them at second and third with one out, and Merritt came through with a liner to right that went for a sacrifice fly, scoring Leonard.
The Ephs did tie the game in their half of the third when Erica Li led off with a single up the middle off Leonard. Li stole second and advanced to third on Cramer's groundout. Graebner then singled to left to drive home the tying run.
Hamilton regained the lead in the top of the fourth when Kaknis led off with a double and moved to third when St. Jarre's hard liner struck Eph starter Kaitlin Dinet in the head. St. Jarre was thrown out for the second out of the frame, but Dinet had to come out and Sam Miller greeted Eph reliever Megan Casey with a double to center to score what proved to be the winning run.
Hamilton added a run in the fifth when Olivia Gozdz's two-out double scored Sarah Moore, who drew a lead-off walk from Casey. The Continentals tacked on another insurance run in the sixth on Miller's groundout.
The Ephs rapped out 11 hits against Leonard over 11 innings, but managed just the one run, stranding nine runners. They put runners on second and third with one out in the first, but Leonard fanned the next two batters to keep them off the scoreboard.
In the second, Cendejas and Merrilee Weston had one-out singles, but another Leonard strikeout and a pop up ended that threat. After Graebner's RBI-single in the third tied it, Frank followed with a single, but a groundout and a strikeout ended that threat too.
Leonard went seven, allowed 11 hits, but did not walk a batter and fanned four. Dinet went 3 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, one walk and two runs, both earned.
St. Jarre was 2 for 3 for Hamilton. Li was 3 for 4 for the Ephs and Legan 2 for 3.