CLERMONT, Fla. – The Newbury College softball team opened the 2016 season with a 9-1 win over non-conference, regional opponent Coast Guard, Sunday morning. Junior first baseman Liz Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii) led the Nighthawks going three-for-three with an RBI and a run scored.
Finding themselves trailing 1-0 after the first inning, the Nighthawks responded the next half inning. Junior backstop Emily Humphries (Westborough, Mass.) opened the top of the second lining a base-hit back where it came from. After advancing 60 feet on a sacrifice bunt, Kia came through with a two-out, opposite field single to bring home Humphries to knot up the ballgame.
The score remained tied at 1-1 until the fourth when the Nighthawk offense struck again. After two quick outs, Kia kept the inning going with base-hit into centerfield and quickly got herself into scoring position swiping second and third. Moments later, senior second baseman Elizabeth Fox (Orono, Maine) gave the Nighthawk s their first lead of the game driving home Kia.
But the Nighthawks were far from done. Two batters later, after senior rightfielder Tory Hoemke (Cape Coral, Fla.) kept the inning alive reaching on an error, senior centerfielder Sheri Liggiero (Tewksbury, Mass.) dropped down a bunt single to bring in Fox to take the 3-1 lead.
It was more than enough for first year right-hander Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.), who settled into a groove in her first collegiate start. The Maryland native did not yield a hit after the second inning and retired eight straight Bears at one point.
However, the offense was not over. The warm Florida weather woke up the Nighthawk bats as they batted around putting up a crooked number six in the lucky sixth inning. Kia and Fox began the inning with their third and second hits of the game, respectively. Hoemke reached on a fielder's choice then moved up into scoring position on an error by Bear pitcher Sarah Sorenson as Kia came in to score the fourth Nighthawk run and bring the order back around to the top.
With runners in scoring position, Liggiero slapped down a single to bring home Fox and take advantage of Coast Guard's indecision in the field as Hoemke scored as well. Two batters later, senior shortstop Alyssa Donovan (West Haven, Conn.) drove home Liggiero with the eighth run before Humphries lace a single of her own to bring home Donovan. Milauskas helped her own cause with an opposite field base-hit to bring in Humpries and extend their lead to 9-1.
Newbury starts the season at 1-0 while Coast Guard drops to 1-1 on the young season. The Nighthawks return to the diamond tomorrow morning when they play two against the GNAC's Mount Ida College (9:00 AM) and Emmanuel College (11:00 AM).
It is the first time in program history, the Newbury softball program opened the season with a victory on the first day in Florida… The win was Head Coach Cassie Moore's first at the helm for the Nighthawks.