Gators ready for GNAC Tournament

CHESTNUT HILL, MA – After finishing 16-8 in conference play, Courtney Wallace (right) and the Pine Manor softball squad embark on their next step on their journey towards the NCAA Tournament -- the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament. Emerson, the league’s top seed at 21-3 in GNAC play, will act as the host school, with Pine Manor’s games being played at Lasell College in Newton, MA and Mount Ida College in Newton Center.
          
"If we show up ready to play, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t take the whole thing," said Pine Manor coach Martha Deusser, who's Gators started 13-3 in GNAC play and are 3-3 over their last six conference games. 
            Finishing in fourth place in the conference, the Gators (18-18, 16-8 GNAC) received a bye for the opening round and will face the winner of Wednesday’s game between Simmons (14-21, 12-12) and Norwich (18-16, 15-9) on Friday afternoon at 2 at Mount Ida. If the Gators win, the team will take on Emerson at Mount Ida immediately after, following a mandatory 25-minute recess, with first pitch slated for 4 p.m.
            When Pine Manor played the Lions in the regular season, the Gators mustered only one run in a pair of losses, 3-0 and 5-1. According to Deusser, the doubleheader loss isn't indicative of how her team could play weekend.
             "
Against Emerson, we didn’t show them how we could hit," said the first-year coach. "If we can bring our bats this time around, it should be a good game."
            Should Pine Manor lose its first game, the Gators will play again Saturday morning at 10 at Lasell. This game will be played against either Suffolk, Rivier, Lasell or St. Joseph’s (ME).   
             Taking a look at Pine Manor’s potential opponents in the first game, in the regular season, the Gators swept Norwich in Chestnut Hill on March 27 and did the same to Simmons two weeks later, on April 10. 
            The Gators topped Norwich 9-3 and 7-1, with pitcher Jackie Martinez (left) at the top of her game in picking up victories in both contests. The sophomore pitched a combined 14 innings, allowing 13 hits, striking out nine and walking one. At the plate, freshman Kayla Ferrara went a combined 7-for-8 in her first career GNAC games, scoring twice and driving in two.
           
"They were tight games," said Deusser. "They’re a good team."
            Ferrara scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning of a 1-0 victory in Game 1 against Simmons, and Courtney Wallace went 3-for-3 with two runs scored in a 3-2 victory in the nightcap. While Martinez may have been more durable in the sweep of Norwich, she’s never been more dominant than in her victory over the Sharks, spinning a two-hit, eight-inning shutout, striking out a career-high 13. 
             To view a GNAC Tournament bracket and tournament information, check out http://www.thegnac.com/sports/sball/2008-09/news/championship .

 

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