LEICESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College softball team saw their 2017 season come to an end on Tuesday, as they lost 7-5 to visiting Bay Path University in the opening round of the New England Collegiate Conference Playoffs at Russell Field in Leicester.
The Bay Path Wildcats (22-15) were led by freshman third baseman Lilly West (Goshen, Mass. / Hampshire Regional High School) who went two-for-three with three RBI. Sophomore catcher Katrina Peck (Newington, Conn. / Newington High School) had a home run with two runs driven in.
For the Becker Hawks (18-19), it was a bitter loss that saw three seniors finish their time as Hawks. Pitching in the final game of her storied collegiate career, senior pitcher Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn. / Woodland) struck out four Wildcats in seven innings while going two-for-four at the plate with a home run and two RBI. Senior first baseman Ashley Ciepiela (Adams, Mass. / Hoosac Valley) had a hit and a run while senior outfielder Katelyn MacLean (North Reading, Mass. / Essex Aggie) also saw the end of her time at Becker.
Bay Path got on the board first in the top of the first inning when Peck's two-run homer to center field put the Wildcats ahead 2-0.
Becker got one of those runs back in the bottom of the second when sophomore outfielder Vasia Murphy (Dracut, Mass. / Dracut) scored from third on a wild pitch. Murphy finished the day going two-for-four with a double.
In the top of the third, the Wildcats answered when West hit an RBI single to center field to give the visitors a 3-1 advantage.
Then in the bottom of the fourth, Becker freshman infielder Shannon Lundy (Barnstable, Mass. / Barnstable), starting just her third game of the season, doubled to left center to drive in sophomore shortstop Megan Klemanchuck (Pawtucket, R.I. / William E. Tolman). Lundy finished with three hits and two RBI while Klemanchuck went two-for-four.
Lee tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI double to right center, driving in sophomore center fielder Samantha Belenchia (Ansonia, Conn. / Ansonia) had one hit on the day.
Then in the bottom of the sixth, Lundy hit her second RBI base hit of the day to give Becker the leader, driving in Ciepiela. Now up 4-3, Becker was just three outs away from advancing to the double-elimination round of the playoffs.
But in the top of the seventh, the Bay Path offense exploded. An RBI fielder's choice from freshman Kiley Bissell (Goshen, Mass. / Hampshire Regional High School) with the bases loaded tied the game at 4-4. On the very next at bat, West singled up the middle to score two runs. Two batters later, Bissell scored from third on a stolen base. The Wildcats went up 7-4.
In the bottom of the seventh with the season on the line, Lee lead off the inning with a home run to left, pulling the Hawks to within two. Three batters later, Becker had runners at second and third with one out, the tying run in scoring position. But Lundy popped up to the shortstop and MacLean grounded out for the final out of the season.
Bay Path advances to the double-elimination round of the NECC Playoffs while Becker's season comes to an end.
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