WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — Sam DiBella smacked a two-out, bottom-of-the-seventh double off the tip of Williams' center fielder Ali Graebner's glove Saturday, scoring the winning run and ending the Ephs season with a 4-3 loss.
Endicott improved to 27-12-1 with the win and will face Tufts (39-3) in the Williamstown Regional championship game Sunday at noon on Cole Field. If the Gulls win the first game, the two teams will meet again at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Both the Gulls and Ephs had played earlier Saturday, with Williams getting clipped by Tufts 4-2, and Endicott outlasting Lesley, 11-4, in the first elimination game of the day. That set up a rematch between the two teams which met Friday with Williams preveiling 6-0.
Saturday's game proved to be a bit different, with Gull's ace Nell O'Connor shutting out Williams for six innings. Endicott was able to scratch together two unearned runs off Emma Harrington to hold a 2-0 lead entering the top of the seventh.
Mo Frank led off the Ephs' seventh with a single up the middle. Tayler Donze laid down a sacrifice bunt but reached on an error. Theresa Legan then dropped a beautiful bunt she beat out for a single to load the bases with no outs.
O'Connor got Ali Michalski to ground into a force play, with Frank out at the plate, but Erica Li came through for Williams with a clutch line drive single to center that scored Donze and Legan to tie the game at two. Graebner then ripped a hard grounder to second that scored Michalski with the go-ahead run.
If they were stunned the Gulls did not show it. Jess Linden led off the seventh with a single back through the circle. She was sacrificed to second and stayed there when Alex Moise flied out to left for the second out. Jaime Corda then grounded a ball to third that went off the glove of Kacey Cramer and slowly rolled back to the shortstop position and into left field. Linden came dashing home and was safe on a bang-bang play at home, knotting things at three. DiBella was down to her last strike when she cracked a long drive to center that Graebner raced back for but could not corral at the center field fence as Corda came around with the game-winner.
Harrington (13-8) was the tough-luck loser, giving up five hits over 6 2/3 innings while walking three and striking out one. None of the four runs she allowed was earned. O'Connor improved to 15-3 by allowing seven hits over seven innings, walking one and striking out four.
Linden was 2 for 3 with a run scored for the Gulls. Li was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI for Williams and Legan was 2 for 3 with a run scored.