Warwick, R.I. – May 9, 2016: The CCRI Lady Knights softball team hosted the District K Tournament over the past weekend at Winslow Park in Warwick, RI. CCRI hosted the No. 16 ranked (NJCAA DII poll) Saints of Mercyhurst Northeast who came in as the Region III/XV Champion and the Titans of the County College of Morris who were the Region XIX Champions. All three teams played in a double-elimination round robin format which began on Saturday. In the first game CCRI lost to CC Morris 5-3. In the second game Mercyhurst Northeast lost to CC Morris 10-7. In the final game of day 1 CCRI lost to Mercyhurst Northeast 9-5. With the two losses the Lady Knights were eliminated from the tournament and ended their season with an impressive 20-10 record marking only the fourth time in history a Lady Knights softball team had at least 20 wins! On Sunday two teams were left CC Morris (2-0) and Mercyhurst (1-1). The Saints of Mercyhurst won a hard-fought 5-4 battle in the bottom of the seventh inning of the first game setting-up a winner take all championship game. Mercyhurst won the Championship game convincingly 12-0 to take the District Championship. Mercyhurst will advance to the NJCAA DII Softball National Championship in Clinton, MI May 18-21st.
In the circle again for the Lady Knights was Courtney Sheridan who drew the ire of Mercyhurst who had just got done underperforming versus Morris so they were playing with extreme vigor and it showed. Once again Sheridan was cruising along into the third inning with one out and two runners on base when Mercyhurst hit an RBI double followed by an error and a Home Run making the score 5-0 Mercyhurst. In the fifth the bats came alive again for MNE with a Home Run, three hits and an error to give MNE a 9-0 lead. CCRI battled back to score four in the fifth inning and one in the seventh but it was not enough to overcome the nationally ranked Saints.
Though Sheridan took the loss she ended her historic freshman campaign with a CCRI record 148 strikeouts with 18 complete games and six shutouts. She had an impressive 14-7 record with a 3.13 ERA. The 148 strikeouts ranked Sheridan No. 14 by the NJCAA and her 7.99 strikeouts per game ranked her No. 16 by the NJCAA all very impressive numbers for the new “K” Queen of CCRI.
The bats went silent for CCRI until the sixth inning when Mercyhurst switched pitchers. Mikayla Fernandez started the rally with a hit before Sam Archambault (North Smithfield, RI) was hit by a pitch but now there were two outs for CCRI with Bella Malvinni (Westerly, RI) batting, the shortstop delivered the first RBI followed by a hit by Meg Rousseau and two-RBI double from Kristina Rodriguez and RBI from Captain Jess Spargo making the score 9-4 Mercyhurst. CCRI mounted another rally in the seventh when Captain Jenna Urso led off with a double and scored on another double from fellow Captain Erica Jewett but Mercyhurst made some great defensive plays to close out the 9-5 victory.
Recapping the offense for CCRI, Meg Rousseau had two hits including a double with two runs scored followed by Kristina Rodriguez with a two-RBI double. Jenna Urso added a double and run while Erica Jewett had an RBI double and Jess Spargo added a hit and RBI. Also helping CCRI was Mikayla Fernandez with a hit and run scored and Sam Archambault walked was hit by a pitch and scored a run.
This was indeed a great year for the Lady Knights who ranked No. 20 nationally with a .381 batting average with 10 batters over the .300 plateau led by: Maddy Cooper (.500), Meghan Rousseau (.474), Kristina Rodriguez (.430) and Erica Jewett (.475) who all had at least 25 hits while batting over .400. In addition, Freshman Courtney Sheridan shattered the single strikeout record with 148 with an eye on the career mark of 202 set by Devin Azulay in 2012. The Lady Knights have seven freshmen and will look to build on their great 2016 season.
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.