WILLIAMSTOWN, MA. — The bells were ringing from high atop Lasell Gymnasium Sunday afternoon.
And with good reason, as the Williams College softball team once again made some come-from-behind noise down at Cole Field, rallying from a three-run deficit against rival Amherst to post a 6-3 win and capture the 2016 Little Three Championship.
The win allowed the Ephs to take the best-of-three series with Amherst, two games to one, and increase their lead in the NESCAC's West Division to 1 1/2 games. Williams stands at 26-8 after the victory, 7-2 in the West. Amherst fell to 19-8, 5-3 in the West.
Junior Brooke Bovier threw five straight shutout innings at the Purple & White, allowing her teammates to claw their way back. The Ephs' comeback began in the bottom of the second. Melissa Cendejas led off and was hit by a pitch. Brenna Martinez doubled to right.
Amherst starter Jackie Buechler retired the next two hitters before senior Erica Li laced a two-strike pitch to left-center field for a two-run double that made it a 3-2 Amherst lead.
The Ephs scored three times in the fourth to take a 5-3 lead and never look back. Lexi Curt led off with a double and Mackenzie Murphy was intentionally walked. After an out, Cendejas laced a single to center field that skipped by the fielder, rolling all the way to the fence as pinch-runner Ashley Wirth and Murphy scored and Cendejas reached third. Martinez then drilled a sacrifice fly to right that easily scored Murphy for the two-run lead.
From the third through the fifth, Bovier was in complete command, retiring nine of the 10 Amherst batters she faced. In the bottom of the fifth, Murphy added to the Williams lead when she crushed a solo home run over the left-field fence — her third home run in three games.
Amherst made things tense in the top fo the sixth as Alena Marovitz led off with a double and, after an out, Annie Apffel singled to left. Nicolette Miranda then walked to load the bases, but Eph third sacker Kacey Cramer snared a line drive for out number two and Curt made a circus catch of a short foul behind the plate to end the threat.
Bovier went the distance to earn the victory, allowing six hits and four walks over seven innings while striking out two. Williams had 10 hits in the victory. Of the three runs she allowed, only one was earned.
Cendejas was 2 for 2 with an RBI. Alison Michalik and Curt were each 2 for 4.
Amherst had six hits. Marovitz was 2 for 3.
NOTES: It's tradition at Williams that any time any team wins a Little 3 championship, they ascend to the top of the Lasell Tower and ring the bells. Williams had three doubles in the victory, giving them 68 on the season, a new single-season team record.