WESTON, Mass. - Nighthawks junior Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) batted a perfect 3-for-3 including two home runs and five RBIs, helping the Newbury Nighthawks to a 12-4 victory over the Lesley Lynx in six innings on Thursday evening in the winner's bracket of the New England Collegiate Conference Playoffs, hosted at Regis College.
Sass' pair of home runs moves her to nine this season and to the top of the pack in home runs by NECC players. Additionally, Sass now has 29 career home runs and has become the career leader for home runs by any player in NECC history. Sophomore Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.) batted 3-for-4, all singles and three RBIs. Senior Samantha Libby (New Gloucester, Maine) went 2-for-2, scoring four times.
Lynx senior Theresa Pereira (Hopedale, Mass.) and freshman Kristen DiCicco (Wantagh, N.Y.) both batted 2-for-2 on the night. Junior Ashleigh Acker (Apopka, Fla.) went 1-for-3 including a double.
The Nighthawks struck early and often, taking a 2-0 lead on Sass' first home run of the game in the top of the first. The Nighthawks doubled that lead in the second thanks to an RBI double by junior Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.) and an RBI fielder's choice by Gooden to lead 4-0.
The Lynx got on the board in the bottom of the second on a Nighthawks error that scored DiCicco, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
Newbury was back in scoring mode in the fourth with a bases loaded walk, followed by a two-run single by freshman Hannah Besaw (Shrewsbury, Mass.) to take a 7-1 lead.
The Nighthawks were on the verge of ending the game after five, as Sass went deep for her second home run of the game, another two-run shot, to lead 9-1.
Lesley kept the game alive in the fifth thanks to a series of singles, scoring three runs to cut back into the deficit, 9-4.
However, the Nighthawks responded with three of their own in the top of the sixth with the help of another bases loaded walk, followed by a two-run single by Gooden, giving the Nighthawks a 12-4 lead.
Nighthawks sophomore Mallory Stefan (Thornton, Colo.) takes the win after throwing 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and improving to 11-13. Lynx freshman Jordan Day (Seminole, Fla.) went 3.2 innings, allowing nine runs, all earned, on eight hits. Day falls to 19-9 this season.
The Nighthawks advance in the winner's bracket and will face the No. 2 seed Becker Hawks on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Regis College for the right to qualify for the Championship Game on Sunday. The Lynx drop to the loser's bracket and face the No. 3 seed Bay Path Wildcats on Saturday at noon in the first elimination game of Championship Weekend.