Hofstra softball earns 12th CAA Title with help from the long ball
The Hofstra Pride softball team continued their long ball tactics to earn the 2018 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship as three home runs propelled the team to a 7-4 victory over the top-ranked James Madison Dukes to claim the conference title on Friday afternoon, May 11, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. This was the second time in two days that the Pride defeated the nationally-ranked Dukes.
Freshman Sophie Dandola got the start in the circle for the Pride and picked up the win after giving up only three runs in 6.1 innings pitched.
Sophomore Sarah Cornell came in to finish the game in the seventh inning and earned her first save of the season. Cornell only faced four batters, walking two and striking out two. Her final strikeout clinched the conference title for the Pride.
“You have such a young pitching staff. A freshman and a sophomore, feeling the experience of this atmosphere, the pressure of winning the championship with the game on the line, the tying run at the plate – you can’t duplicate that in practice,” said Hofstra head coach Larissa Anderson. “They’re just going to continue to get better.”
The Dukes struck first in the top of the third inning off an RBI single from Odicci Alexander. Hofstra responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning off of home runs from seniors Brittany Allocca and Nikki Michalowski.
Allocca continued her tear in the very next inning by hitting her second home run of the afternoon, this one a three-run homer to put the Pride up 6-1.
“It’s understanding what [Allocca] is capable of doing,” Anderson said. “That’s four years of playing experience at this level and knowing her responsibility as a senior.”
In the sixth inning, Kristin Hallam kept the Pride rolling with an RBI single to give the Pride a 7-1 lead late in the game.
The Dukes would score three runs in the top of the seventh inning and had the tying run at the plate, but could not complete the comeback.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Anderson said. “I’m so proud to bring this championship back home to Hofstra and that our seven seniors are able to put their banner up on the wall.”
Dandola’s performance in the tournament earned her the Most Outstanding Performer award while Allocca, Cornell, and senior Brielle Pietrafesa earned spots on the All-Tournament Team.
With the conference championship comes a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Pride will find out who they will be facing in the national tournament at 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 13, during the NCAA selection show on ESPN2.
Image courtesy of Hofstra Athletics