STANDISH – If there’s one thing the St. Joseph’s softball team has learned this season, it’s how to stay confident.

The Monks dropped their opener in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs Friday, losing 4-1 to Emerson.

St. Joseph’s (28-9), the No. 2 seed, will face eighth-seeded Norwich at 10 a.m. today in Nashua, N.H., attempting to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament.

“We have to keep up our confidence,” said catcher Maria Labbe. “They got the big hits when they needed them.”

Emerson (27-9), the No. 3 seed, produced four singles in the sixth inning to score three runs and overcome a 1-0 deficit.

“With every loss we learn something,” said shortstop Liddy van der Linden.

“We played well defensively today. Had good pitching. Hit it hard. But we knew they weren’t going to give up. We also know we have the power to do that, too.”

St. Joseph’s took the lead in the bottom of the third when Emily Leverone banged a single into left field, scoring pinch runner Kirin Schrum from third.

Heather Tripp walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Anna Willis. Schrum ran for Tripp and advanced to third when Danyelle Shufelt beat out an infield single.

“We were in a position to win,” said St. Joseph’s Coach Jamie Smyth. “But they really had some big hits down the stretch.”

St. Joseph’s pitcher Maddie Kluna started the sixth inning with a strikeout, but the next three batters singled.

“We just started to make adjustments,” said Kelsey Tuthill, whose single started the rally and who also was the winning pitcher. “We were taking her deep into counts early in the game, so we talked and found a way to adjust.”

Emerson added a run in the seventh on two hits and an error.

St. Joseph’s went down in order in the bottom of the seventh. The Monks got just four hits off Tuthill, last year’s GNAC rookie of the year who recently returned from injury.

Smyth said he told his team to stay confident and remember what got them here: depth.

The Monks strung together 23 straight wins this season, a streak that ended Monday when Emerson swept a doubleheader.

Smyth said he hopes to use all four of his starting pitchers through the tournament if things go well today.

“We have the depth. We are a team that can win this tournament,” he said.

“You can’t win the tournament in one game.”

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

[email protected]