NASHUA, N.H. – A record-setting season ended for the St. Joseph’s College softball team on Sunday morning.

The Monks lost 5-4 to nemesis Emerson in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs at Rivier College, but not before displaying their resilience with another comeback.

The second-seeded Monks (30-10) faced elimination from the tournament after an opening-round loss to No. 3 seed Emerson (28-10) on Friday, but fought back with wins against Norwich and Simmons on Saturday and then rallied from an early 4-1 deficit Sunday.

The comeback included a home run by Alyssa Dunn of Standish in the fourth inning before Emerson first baseman Kelsey Tuthill drove in the winning run with a one-out single in the seventh.

“Our resilience is the thing I’m most proud of,” said Coach Jamie Smyth, named the GNAC coach of the year at the conclusion of the game. “With this team, you’re never out of ballgames. They drive until the last out.”

Emerson took a 3-0 lead in the first on three hits and a walk and made it 4-0 in the second on two hits and a sacrifice bunt.

St. Joseph’s answered with a run in the bottom of the second. Second baseman Jillian Kimball hit a one-out double, advanced to third on a single by Maria Labbe and scored when Heather Tripp reached on an error.

Dunn cranked a leadoff home run off left-hander Sara Murray to left-center field to start the fourth, making it 4-2, and Labbe followed with a double to knock out Murray.

“That was exactly what we needed there,” said Monks center fielder Anna Willis of Gorham.

The Monks tied the game in the fifth on two hits, a sacrifice fly and an error.

Willis slapped a single to start the inning, and right fielder Danyelle Shufelt reached on an infield single.

Left fielder Emily Leverone singled to drive in Willis, and shortstop Liddy van der Linden drove in Shufelt with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-4.

After Emerson went up 5-4 in the top of the seventh, Shufelt singled with one out in the bottom half but could not advance.

Emerson faced top-seeded Rivier in the final, losing 1-0 in eight innings.

The Monks strung together a program-record 23 straight wins and had their best shot at a conference title in years.

“The thing about this team is that we never give up,” said Dunn, a junior who was among seven Monks named to the all-tournament team. “We stick together.”

Dunn, van der Linden and Leverone were named to the first team, pitcher Madylan Kluna and Shufelt to the second team and Willis to the third team.

“One of the things I’ll miss most is the camaraderie of our team,” said Willis, a senior. “I’m not going to miss playing half as much as I’m going to miss this team.”

 

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

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