The CCRI Lady Knights concluded their play at THE Spring Games at the National Training Center in Clermont, FL on Thursday. Once again CCRI squared off against two very good teams first they faced the Tommies of the University of St. Thomas from St. Paul, MN and then had a return meeting with the Barons off Rowan College at Burlington County. The Lady Knights staged a valiant comeback versus St. Thomas winning 8-5 in eight innings and then fell 6-3 in a very good game versus Burlington. With the split the CCRI goes 3-3 during THE Spring Games bringing their overall record to 3-5.
In a game for that was not for the faint of heart the Lady Knights who were the visitors trailed 2-0 going into the sixth inning before they exploded for four runs. Only to have St. Thomas come back with single runs in the sixth and seventh making the score 4-4 The game went into the international tiebreaker whereas the last batter of the previous inning starts at second base. CCRI had another great rally to score four more runs while holding the Tommies to a one run to win 8-5.
In the circle getting the start for CCRI was freshman Courtney Sheridan (Warwick, RI) who pitched very well. Sheridan threw four strong innings giving up just two runs on five hits walking three and striking out three. She pitched well against a very strong and deep line-up with a roster that featured 33 players. In relief, getting her first action at pitcher, was Mikayla Fernandez (Burrillville, RI) who pitched unbelievably considering the situation. Fernandez pitched four innings with four walks, all intentional to get bases loaded and create force out opportunities, and little added pressure for her first appearance. Fernandez gave up three runs on four hits and struck out four batters to earn her first collegiate victory! Head Coach Liz Afonso commented on Fernandez performance: "Mikayla (Fernandez) was outstanding! One of our MVP's this week no matter what we asked of her she stepped up big time! It was not easy to get your first experience in the circle in a game like this. I know she may have been nervous but she never showed it. I had full confidence in her and our defense which is why we put the runners on to create more opportunities to get outs.....And what can I say about Courtney (Sheridan), she pitched a lot of innings this week and was our ace bearing down through the heat against very strong line-ups. She is a very good pitcher and is getting better and stronger with every outing. I am looking forward to the rest of the season with her leading the pitching staff."
Playing with a 2-0 deficit going into the sixth inning CCRI had only had three hits the Lady Knights needed a rally. Kristina Rodriguez (North Kingstown, RI) got on to lead off the inning followed by a double from Maddy Cooper (Pawtucket,RI). Rodriguez scored on an RBI single from Bella Malvinni (Westerly , RI) followed by a sacrifice from Tri-Captain Jess Spargo (Westerly, RI) to tie the score 2-2. Malvinni scored on an RBI single from Tri-Captain Jenna Urso (West Warwick, RI) to give CCRI its first lead. Then Abby Martinelli (West Greenwich, RI) drove in Urso with another RBI single to give CCRI a 4-2 lead midway through the sixth. The Tommies answered with on in the bottom of the inning and to make the score 4-3 and another in the seventh it tie the game 4-4. In the tiebreaker Maddy Cooper started at second and advanced to third on a single from Malvinni who stole second putting runners on second and third. Spargo executed a perfect bunt single to load the bases. Urso followed with another perfect bunt single to give CCRI a 5-4 lead. Martinelli scored Malvinni on an RBI single. CCRI capped their scoring in the eighth with an RBI double from speedster Meghan Rousseau giving CCRI an 8-4 lead. CCRI allowed only the runner who started at second to score as Mikayla Fernandez, once again with a forced bases loaded situation slammed the door shut to give CCRI the dramatic 8-5 victory. Coaching Afonso added: "everyone contributed in this victory, this was a true TEAM win, I could not be more happy with how we performed in this game, EVERYONE!"
Offensive recap: Urso was 3-3 with two RBI and two runs scored followed by Malvinni with two hits, two RBI a run scored and a stolen base. Cooper stayed hot with two hits, two runs scored and a stolen base and Martinelli had two hits, two RBI and Rousseau had a clutch RBI double with hits from Sheridan and an RBI single from Spargo.
In the circle for the Lady Knights was Jess Spargo, who pitched well though she was not getting favorable calls from the men in blue. When the opposing coach says "Those change-ups were strikes" you know that was the case. That being said Spargo was mentally tough enough to battle through the adversity to keep the potent Barons line-up in check. Spargo threw 3 1/3 innings allowing three runs, two earned on two hits with four strikeouts and nine free passes. CCRI Ace Courtney Sheridan relieved her and threw 3 2/3 innings of strong relief allowing three runs on four hits with three walks. After giving up 13 runs to this team on Tuesday CCRI pitched better and played outstanding defense. Some defensive highlights included a diving catch at third from Bella Malvinni and a 7-5-2-5 double play in the sixth. Defense was capped by a sliding catch down the left field line form Kristina Rodriguez.
Offensively the Lady Knights were playing form behind the entire game and could not get any extended rallies going though they had 11 hits. CCRI got one run in the second, one in the fourth and one in the fifth, but only got within two runs of Burlington.
CCRI got two hits, an RBI and a stolen base form Malvinni, and two hits and an RBI from Kim Barker (Narragansett, RI). They got two hits from Sheridan, Rousseau and Cooper and one from Jenna Urso.
Coach Afonso commented after the last game: "This has been one of our bets trips down here in a while! We got three wins against top flight talent. I am excited for us to build upon this when we get back home."
The Lady Knights face Northern Essex back in RI at Winslow Park Thursday March the 31st for as doubleheader beginning at 2:00pm.
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.