May 24, 2011
Red Dragons wind up fourth at World Series
Bob Molta/Eastern Connecticut State SID
The SUNY Cortland softball team hoists their fourth place trophy after being eliminated in the NCAA Division III World Series on Monday in Salem, Va. The Red Dragons lost 12-1 to Linfield College to finish off a 42-5-1 season.
SALEM, Va. — Two losses to No. 1 nationally-ranked Linfield College kept the SUNY Cortland softball squad from getting to the championship round of the NCAA Division III World Series.
Those setbacks did not keep Coach Julie Lenhart’s team from distinguishing themselves over four days of play at the James Moyer Sports Complex, the Red Dragons finishing fourth in the nation after Monday morning’s 12-1 loss in five innings to the potent Linfield squad out of Oregon.
That’s the best showing ever by a Cortland team at the World Series, this the seventh time the Red Dragons have advanced this far. After an opening day loss to Linfield, the SUNY Athletic Conference regular season and playoff champions beat Luther 6-0 and DePauw 14-8 before being ousted in this double-elimination, eight-team tournament in the rematch with Linfield.
The Red Dragons (42-5-1) were playing in the World Series for the third time in the last four years. Cortland reached the 40-win plateau for the third consecutive year and fourth time overall.
Linfield went on to eliminate Texas-Tyler 7-1 and blank Christopher Newport 6-0 before Monday concluded, handing the latter squad its first World Series setback. That set up a title game rematch this morning between Linfield (50-3) and Christopher Newport (38-11).
The Cortland-Linfield game actually started Sunday evening and Cortland took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Donnalyn Cross led off with a single and scored on a Lucia Meola RBI double.
Meola was thrown out trying to take third on the play, and an ensuing lightning and rain delay pushed the game to Monday morning. When play resumed, Jessica Harman hit a two-out double but was stranded on second.
Harman finished 1-for-1, while Cross, Meola and Abby Martin were each 1-for-2. Cross finished the season with a school single-season record 73 hits, breaking the previous mark of 71 held by Jamie Neuner (2007) and June Maloney (1998).
During the tournament, Cross also became the all-time NCAA leader in career triples with 43.
Pitcher Lyndsay Rowell suffered the loss for Cortland and finishes the season 26-4. The junior’s 26 wins are tied for the second-highest total in school history. Katie Finch won 26 games in both 2009 and 2010, while Leslie Lance won a school-record 30 games in 1998.
Rowell allowed nine hits and five runs in three innings against Linfield. Morgan Kuhn and Martin each pitched an inning.
Linfield scored three times in the second on consecutive two-out RBI singles by Jordan Mixsell, Kayla Hubrich and Baxter. Karleight Prestianni hit a two-run homer in the third, and the lead grew to 9-1 in the fourth on two-run homers by Baxter and Staci Doucette.
The Wildcats completed their scoring in the fifth on a Baxter two-run homer and a Prestianni run-scoring single. Baxter finished 3-for-4 with her two homers and five RBIs. Prestianni was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, Doucette was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Hubrich went 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.
Hurler Claire Velaski allowed three hits and a run in three innings for the victory.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe