Lehigh, Army Advance to Patriot League Softball Championship

Lehigh's Rebecca Bliss

May 11, 2012

Patriot League Softball Championship Central

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh and Army have been the top teams throughout the Patriot League Softball season, and now the squads will play for the championship after each remained alive in the League Tournament on Friday at Kaufman Field.

The Mountain Hawks advanced to the final round by winning the opener on Friday by a 4-0 final over the Black Knights. Lehigh jumped out early with three first-inning runs and Rebecca Bliss went the distance for the shutout victory.

After Lafayette eliminated Colgate 2-1 in eight innings, Army moved on to face Lehigh in the championship by blanking the Leopards 7-0 in the final game of the day. Morgan Lashley tossed a shutout, her fifth over the Leopards this season, and the Black Knights pulled away late with five runs in the top of the seventh.

The defending champion Mountain Hawks need just one win Saturday on their home field to claim their 12th Patriot League Tournament title, and fourth in the past five years. Army will need to beat Lehigh twice to claim the crown, which would be the fifth in program history and first since 2002. Army is in the championship round for the 11th time overall and first since 2006, while Lehigh heads to the final games for the 16th time in school history.

First pitch between the Mountain Hawks and Black Knights from Lehigh's Kaufman Field will be at Noon on Saturday. A second game will follow if Army picks up the victory in the opener. Lehigh will play as the designated home team in the first contest, while Army would have the honor in a decisive final game.

For more information, including box scores and recaps throughout the weekend as well as links to live stats and audio coverage of the championship round, go to Patriot League Softball Championship Central

2012 Patriot League Softball Tournament
Kaufman Field - Bethlehem, Pa.

Game 3: #1 Lehigh 4, #2 Army 0
Box Score

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Top seed Lehigh (39-17) moved on to the Patriot League Softball Championship by using early offense and dominant pitching to get by second seed Army (36-20) 4-0 in the first game on Friday at Kaufman Field.

The Mountain Hawks jumped out of the gates with three runs in the first inning. Julie Fernandez singled in Rosie Roessel for a 1-0 lead, and the Mountain Hawks tacked on two more when Cassie Waggy singled in Jen Colquhoun and Fernandez came around to score on a throwing error on the play.

That was more than enough offense for Lehigh junior Rebecca Bliss, who was in control on the mound. Bliss tossed a shutout, going the distance while allowing four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Lehigh added an insurance run in the seventh when Fernandez again single in Roessel to complete the 4-0 final.

Fernandez, the all-time Patriot League hits leader, went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs. Roessel was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Waggy was 1-for-4 with an RBI.

Marina Northup had two of Army's four hits, while Rachael Duval and Clara Navarro had the others. Morgan Lashley went the distance in the circle, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and five walks with five strikeouts.

Game 4: #4 Lafayette 2, #3 Colgate 1 (8)
Box Score

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - After throwing eight strong innings on the mound, Melissa Robinson drove in the game-winning run to lead fourth-seed Lafayette (14-39) past Colgate (19-28) 2-1 in an elimination game on Friday at Kaufman Field.

Robinson allowed only an unearned run in her eight innings of work, giving up five hits and a walk while striking out six.

Lafayette got on the board first, with Jordan Parsons singling in Kristen Berger for a 1-0 advantage just two batters into the bottom of the first inning. It stayed that way until the top of the fourth when Colgate tied the score at 1-1 when Alana Dyson led off with a single and came around to score on an error.

The game remained even at 1-1 until the bottom of the eighth. Stacey Dorn got the rally started with a one-out double, and Robinson followed with a single to score pinch-runner Cody Kugler with the winning run.

Berger and Parsons each went 2-for-4 for a strong day at the top of the Leopards lineup, while Carly Fiero had a hit in each of her three trips to the plate.

Courtney O'Connell had a strong pitching performance for the Raiders, allowing two runs on nine hits and a walk with five strikeouts in 7.1 innings to take the hard-luck loss. Tera Vaughn went 3-for-4 for the Raiders, but Dyson and O'Connell came up with the only other Colgate hits off of Robinson.

Game 5: #2 Army 7, #4 Lafayette 0
Box Score

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - A dominant performance from freshman starting pitcher Morgan Lashley and a late barrage of offense lifted second-seed Army (37-20) into the Patriot League Softball Championship with a 7-0 win over fourth-seed Lafayette (14-40) in an elimination game on Friday at Kaufman Field.

The Black Knights advanced to Saturday's championship round, where they will take on Lehigh. Lashley, the Patriot League Pitcher and Rookie of the Year, allowed just three hits and two walks with six strikeouts in her shutout effort.

Army got Lashley all the offense she would need in the top of the first inning, with Alex Reynolds singling in April Ortenzo for a 1-0 lead. It stayed that way until the sixth when the Black Knights got insurance as Ali Cleinmark doubled in Reanna Johnson for a 2-0 lead. The floodgates opened in the seventh, as the five-run inning was capped by a two-run home run by Alexis AuBuchon to complete the scoring in the 7-0 victory.

The Army offense had a 13-hit attack, with Ortenzo going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI while Amanda Nguyen, Marina Northup and Rachael Duval had two hits and a run scored. Reynolds had two hits and the RBI as eight different players had at least one hit to go with either a run scored or RBI.

Gwen Turner, Stacey Dorn and Melissa Robinson had the hits off of Lashley. Robinson went the distance in the circle, allowing seven runs on 13 hits with a walk and a strikeout.