NESCAC Softball Championship Field Announced
Tufts to Host 2009 Tournament; Bates Earns Playoff Spot for First Time in Tournament History
HADLEY, Mass. – With a perfect 12-0 conference mark, two-time defending NESCAC champion Tufts University will host the 2009 NESCAC Softball Championship on May 1-3 at Spicer Field in Medford, Mass. Joining the Jumbos in pursuit of the 2009 title will be Wesleyan, the top seed from the West Division, along with Williams and Bates, which is making its first-ever postseason appearance. The three-day, double-elimination tournament begins on Friday, May 1 with the Ephs facing the host Jumbos at 2:30 p.m., followed shortly afterwards with the Bobcats taking on the Cardinals at 5:00 p.m. The 2009 NESCAC Softball Championship continues throughout the weekend and will conclude on Sunday, May 3 with the championship game beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Tufts (34-0, 12-0 NESCAC East) has been on a roll this spring, putting together a 30-win season for the third year in a row with a program-best 34 victories. The Jumbos locked up the number-one seed in the East along with the right to host this year’s championship well before this weekend, as a three-game sweep of Colby on April 10-11 guaranteed Tufts the right to host this year. It may come as little surprise that the Jumbos lead the league in most major statistical categories, scoring a league-leading 272 runs - 102 coming in conference competition - while allowing a league-low 73 runs, posting 11 shutouts. The Jumbos have only faced fellow East Division foe Bates this season, earning a 3-0 series win over the Bobcats on March 27-28. Winners of five NESCAC titles, Tufts will look to close out a perfect regular season on Tuesday with a two game set at Brandeis.
Wesleyan (14-17, 9-3 NESCAC West) secured the top seed out of the West Division for the second year in a row thanks to a 3-0 series victory at Hamilton over the weekend. After making the conference championship field for the first time in 2007, the Cardinals will appear in the tournament for the third consecutive spring with the hopes of reaching Sunday’s final for the second-straight time. Last May, Wesleyan lost its first tournament game before rallying on Saturday to win three contests and force a decisive seventh game against Tufts. The Jumbos denied the Cardinals hopes of a first league title though in a 10-3 Tufts win. After dropping their first two NESCAC outings this season, Wesleyan went 10-1 the rest of the way to claim the top seed, including a 2-1 series win against Williams on April 10 and 12. The Cardinals will host Trinity on Monday followed by a trip to Coast Guard on Tuesday prior to the start of the tournament.
It came down to the final games of the regular season for Williams (15-15, 8-4 NESCAC West) to reach this year’s championship. The Ephs, winners of three-straight NESCAC titles from 2004 through 2006, needed to win both outings on Saturday afternoon against Amherst in order to make the tournament and did just that, downing the Jeffs 5-3 and 8-4. The pair of victories guaranteed the Ephs their ninth consecutive appearance, as only Tufts and Williams have participated in every NESCAC Softball Championship ever held. Williams heads into the weekend at Tufts having won seven of its last 10 outings. Of this year’s tournament field, the Ephs have only faced the Cardinals, going 1-2.
Making its first-ever trip to the NESCAC Softball Championship will be Bates (9-13, 6-6 NESCAC East). The Bobcats had a critical series with Trinity during the final weekend of the season, needing just one win to guarantee a spot in this year’s championship. After falling to the Bantams on Friday afternoon 9-4, Bates was able to finally get past Trinity in the 11th inning of Saturday’s first game, 9-8. Prior to the start of this weekend’s championship, Bates will play a doubleheader at Southern Maine on Monday, followed by a doubleheader at Husson on Wednesday afternoon. Since dropping a three-game series at Tufts March 27-28, the Bobcats have gone 7-4.
The top two teams from the East and West divisions earn the right to participate in the NESCAC Softball Championship. The host site rotates between divisions on a yearly basis, with the top team in the East Division earning the right to host the event this season. After Friday’s pair of contests, Saturday’s morning game will be the first elimination game of the tournament between the two first day losers, followed by a contest between the first day winners. The late afternoon contest on Saturday will be an elimination game between the two teams who split their first two tournament games. Sunday’s championship will feature the survivor of the final game on Saturday and the remaining undefeated team in the tournament. A second game will immediately follow if the undefeated team falls in Sunday’s championship game.
2009 NESCAC SOFTBALL
Day 1 - Friday, May 1 at Tufts
Game 1 - W2 Williams at E1 Tufts - 2:30 p.m.
Game 2 - E2 Bates vs. W1 Wesleyan - 5:00 p.m.
Day 2 - Saturday, May 2 at
Game 3 - Loser of Game 1 vs. Loser of Game 2 - 10:00 a.m.
Game 4 - Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 - 12:30 p.m.
Game 5 - Winner of Game 3 vs. Loser of Game 4 - 3:00 p.m.
Day 3 - Sunday, May 3 at
Game 6 - Winner of Game 4 vs. Winner of Game 5 - 10:00 a.m.
Game 7 - If Necessary - Immediately Following