After setting a school record wins in a season and capturing the Hudson Valley Women’s Athletic Conference championship last season, the St. Joseph’s College softball team did it again this year, storming through the HVWAC tournament en route to their second consecutive title.
The Lady Bears crushed the competition this season, surrendering one run in the tournament, which featured an 11-1 victory over New Rochelle in the semifinals and a 10-0 pasting of the College of Notre Dame (Maryland) in the championship game. St. Joseph’s improved to 26-9-1 and tied last season’s wins record.
Emily Palmieri was named tournament Most Valuable Player after collecting only two hits. What was so special about those two hits? They were both grand slams.
Alyson Chiaramonte tossed four one-hit innings in the championship, striking out three and walking none, for the combined shutout. Chiaramonte improves to 15-3 on the season and is undefeated in her last eight starts in the circle.
In the semifinals, New Rochelle took a 1-0 lead in the opening frame scoring a run on a Palmieri error. After Caitlyn Kakavas tied the game with a bases loaded walk, Palmieri rectified her miscue with a grand slam to left center highlighting a five-run frame for St. Joe’s. The Lady Bears posted another five runs in the second inning benefitting from three bases loaded walks and RBI singles from Girardi and Vargas. A sacrifice fly by Lisa Scheer in the third completed the scoring.
In the championship, a Notre Dame defensive miscue with two-outs extended the frame and allowed St. Joseph’s to load the bases again for Palmieri who punished the Gators with her second grand slam of the day, giving the Lady Bears an early 4-0 lead. In the bottom half of the frame, Notre Dame would get one hit off Chiaramonte, but that would be the only base runner she would allow all game, retiring the side in order the next three innings.
St. Joseph’s tacked on another run in the second on a Scheer two-out single. In the fifth, the Lady Bears plated five runs to go over the eight-run threshold, as the Gator hurler found difficulty finding the plate, issuing three straight free passes to load the bases. Mabel Vargas started the scoring with a single up the middle followed by a bases loaded walk by Millicia Malvasio. Melissa Simo then rapped a two-run single to the opposite field and Christina Girardi scored another run with a grounder. Scheer came in relief to close out the game and after allowing two infield singles, the Lady Bears turned a 6-5-4 double play to clinch the championship
St. Joseph’s advances to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Softball Championships held in Akron, Ohio from May 7-11. They will play Southern Virginia University in a rematch of last season’s first round, which Southern Virginia won 5-2.