By Mike Balestra
Jocelyn Dearborn set the Fordham career home run record this year while helping her teammates win the A-10 title.
Photo by Tom Wasiczko
The Fordham softball team clinched the Atlantic 10 regular season title on May 1 by demolishing the University of Rhode Island (URI) in doubleheader games by scores of 9-3 and 6-0.
Fordham improved to 38-17 overall and became regular-season champs in the A-10 for the first time since 2005.
After earning a first-round bye, the team returns to action against an as yet unknown opponent in the second round of the league championship, which gets underway on May 11.
After not pitching since her near-perfect game against St. Peter’s, Chelsea Plimpton struggled out of the gate, but eventually earned the win and improved to 17-10 on the season.
She fell behind early as URI jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning. The advantage didn’t last long, as Fordham tied the game in the very next inning. Nicole Callahan led off with a single and Samantha Pellechio ripped a home run to left field to even the score at 2-2.
Like the ebb and flow of a championship prizefight, Rhode Island countered in the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo shot to left field. The home run helped URI regain the lead, 3-2. Plimpton didn’t allow another run for the remainder of the game.
In the fifth, Fordham took the lead for good. Lindsay Kay Bright reached on a one-out single. Jocelyn Dearborn then extended her career-high hitting streak to 14 games with a two-run home run that catapulted the Rams into the lead at 4-3. Fordham’s counterpunches continued as Callahan reached on an error and Pellechio blasted her second home run of the game, extending the Rams’ advantage to 6.
Fordham scored their final three runs in the sixth and seventh innings to seal the victory.
The Fordham All-American Jen Mineau took the circle for the rubber match of the series, and showed that she was equal to the task. She limited URI to two hits and one walk while striking out eight, as Fordham completed the sweep.
The Rams grabbed the early lead, 2-0 as Dearborn walked and scored on a Pellechio ground out and Callahan singled and came in on a Palumbo sacrifice fly. The two runs turned out to be enough for the Rams, but they added to their lead in the second.
Jamie LaBovick led off the second with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Bright then picked up an RBI with an infield single that scored LaBovick and gave the Rams a 3-0 edge.
Fordham added two more runs in the third inning as Dearborn walked and moved to third on a Callahan double. Dearborn scored and Callahan moved up to third on a wild pitch. From there, Palumbo made the score 5-0 for the Rams with an RBI double down the left field line. Fordham sealed the victory in the sixth inning when Jessica Crowley singled and came around on an RBI base hit by Callahan.
With the win, Mineau improved to 20-7 for the season, her second straight 20-win campaign.