Celtics softball team advances to USCAA National Championship

Kristin Kurelic -

AKRON – The Carlow University softball team made school history Wednesday, May 18, at Firestone Stadium, in Akron, Ohio.

The Celtics earned the first national championship appearance for any Carlow athletics team, with a 6-2 win against New Hampshire Technical Institute.

Carlow will play at 12 p.m. Thursday, May 19, in the USCAA National Championship. The Celtics will take on St. Mary of the Woods (Ind.) in a rematch of the winner’s bracket championship. The No. 1-seeded Pomeroys (30-6), the defending 2015 USCAA National Champions, defeated the No. 2 Celtics, 4-3, earlier Wednesday.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Danielle Levato threw the first three innings for Carlow (30-13), allowing three runs on eight hits, with two strikeouts and one walk. USCAA Player of the Year Sarah Burnham pitched the complete game for SMWC, allowing five hits and striking out five. It was her third win of the tournament, and 15th of the season. Junior third baseman Allison Hryadil and senior catcher Nicole George each had an RBI for Carlow, each scoring Marla Small after she reached base on a walk.

The Celtics trailed, 3-2, when sophomore right-handed pitcher Nicole Hall came on in relief in the fourth inning. She tossed two scoreless innings while the Celtics mounted a comeback. Hall eventually allowed one run on four hits in the game, with no strikeouts and no walks.

The Celtics tied the game at 3 in the top of the fifth inning. Junior center fielder Kenzie Young tripled to score Kelsey Geyer, who singled, all with two outs.

The Pomeroys took their final 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 6th inning, on a 2-RBI double by Marlee Yeager. Carlow stranded the tying run on second base in the top of the seventh inning. The Pomeroys advanced directly to the championship, while Carlow had to face NHTI in the loser’s bracket final of the double elimination tournament. The Celtics battled back to defeat the Lynx, 6-2.

Senior right-handed pitcher Jenna Grogan powered the Celtics with a complete-game win in the second game. She allowed five hits, with two strikeouts and one walk. The game was scoreless until the top of the fifth inning, when NHTI strung together two hits and a Carlow error to score two runs.

But the Celtics responded with five hits, combined with a Lynx error, to score 5 runs in the bottom of the inning. Young brought in the go-ahead run with a 2-RBI double. Carlow tacked on an insurance run in the sixth inning when Small drove in Sydney Greece, who walked.

Small was 4-for-4, with a double and an RBI, against NHTI. Geyer was 2-for-4, with an RBI. George added 2 RBIs.
The Lynx ended their season with a third-place finish.

Follow the championship action live on Twitter @CarlowCeltics, or watch the live stream at softball.theuscaa.com/live.

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