Pioneer Playoff Hopes Dashed by Perfect Game

April 27, 2008

Box Score

Fairfield, CT - Junior Laura Caldwell threw a perfect game, striking out 11 Pioneer hitters as Saint Francis (PA) posted a 3-0 win over Sacred Heart in the first game of a Northeast Conference softball doubleheader Sunday at Pioneer Park. The loss eliminated SHU from NEC playoff contention. The Pioneers won the second game, 3-1, as freshman Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) went 2-for-2 with 2 RBI and earned the victory, allowing just one run.

In game one, Caldwell struck out nine of the first 11 batter she faced. The Red Flash got on the board in the fourth inning when Megan Spehar (Thousand Oaks, CA) comitted a two out throwing error allowing Kelly Slingwine to score. Slingwine helped build the other two Red Flash runs in the fifth inning. Her RBI single brought home Janelle McCoy to make it 2-0. Then Slingwine and Nicole Bender executed a perfect double steal, with Bender coming home with the third run.

After struggling all weekend, the Pioneer bats finally came alive in the second game, pounding out nine hits. Russell, Shannon McCoy (Yorba Linda, CA) and Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) each had two hits in the game.

All the scoring happened in the third inning. Bender put the Red Flash on top with a long home run to right field in the top of the inning. However, the Pioneers answered back with three scores in the bottom of the inning. Senior Melissa Mezzanotte (North Haven, CT) started the inning with a single to centerfield. and scored when Lee ripped a single to right. Two batters later, with McCoy on third and Lee on second, Russell sent a two strike pitch into centerfield for a single, sending both runners home and giving the Pioneers the lead.

Working with the lead, Russell allowed just one hit over the final four innings to pick up her 13th win of the season. She finished NEC play with a 7-2 record and a 1.56 ERA.

Prior to the game Sacred Heart honored their three graduating seniors, Mezzanotte, Spehar and Tianna Bishko (Poughquag, NY). The group has helped lead the Pioneers to a school record 21 wins this season. The Pioneers finished conference play with a 9-9 record, their best mark in league play since 2003.

Sacred Heart will be back in action Tuesday when they visit Iona in non-conference play. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 3:00 pm.