A conference season that began with near perfection ended about as perfectly as the UMass Dartmouth softball team could ever imagine, as the Corsairs captured the program’s first-ever Little East regular season title and will host the conference championship tournament this weekend at the UMD Softball Complex.
Head Coach Amy Sasin guided her squad to a 22-16 overall mark that included a 12-4 league slate in Little East play, as UMass Dartmouth claimed the conference crown by a game over Plymouth State. Sasin, who has recorded four straight 20-plus win campaigns, notched her 150th career victory in Monday’s 6-1 triumph over Western Connecticut that clinched the regular season title in her ninth season at the helm.
The Corsairs will square off with Western Connecticut once again in opening round play of the six team double elimination tournament, which begins on Thursday, May 2nd at the UMD Softball Complex at 10:00 am EDT. Thursday’s other first round contests will pit second-seeded Plymouth State against fifth-seeded UMass Boston at Noon EDT followed by third-seeded Eastern Connecticut squaring off with fourth-seeded Southern Maine at 2:00 pm EDT.
Sasin’s squad is paced at the plate by sophomore outfielder Kylie Fletcher (Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth), who is hitting .350 and leads the team with 41 hits, seven doubles, four triples, three homers, 21 RBI and 16 stolen bases. Sophomore pitcher Jill Richards (Kingston, Mass./Silver Lake) is next at .310 with a homer, two triples, six doubles and 19 RBI for UMass Dartmouth, while freshman outfielder Rachel Pereira (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) follows at .308 with five extra base hits, five stolen bases and five RBI.
Richards has been the top hurler inside the circle for the Corsairs throughout the spring, as she nearly tossed the aforementioned perfect start to the Little East season by retiring the first 20 batters she faced in a 3-0 victory over Castleton on March 24th. Richards has amassed nine victories and a save in 27 appearances to date, as she has fanned 66 in 133 2/3 innings of work. Freshman Anna Kerwood (Florence, Mass./Northampton) has collected seven wins and a save in her inaugural collegiate campaign for Sasin, who has received a combined six triumphs and three saves from the junior duo of Annika Evensen (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) and Kate McDonald (Scituate, Mass./Scituate).
UMass Dartmouth was 6-4 against the Little East tournament field during the regular season, as the Corsairs split with everyone except Southern Maine, whom they swept in a twinbill in Gorham on April 16th.
The double elimination tournament continues on Friday, May 3rd and Saturday, May 4th, as the championship round is set to begin on Saturday at Noon EDT. The winner of the Little East tournament title earns the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division III championship field.
Live stats and video links for each game of the 2019 Little East Conference Softball Championships will be available at www.littleeast.com as well as the UMass Dartmouth Athletics website at www.corsairatletics.com.