MORRISTOWN, NJ – In one of the most exciting and intense games in St. Joseph's College and Hudson Valley Women's Athletic Conference (HVWAC) history, Lisa Scheer (Queens, NY/Mary Louis) delivered the game-winning RBI in extra innings with a shot to the left field fence and struck out 11 leading the #1 seed St. Joseph's College softball team to their third HVWAC championship with a 2-1 victory in nine innings over #2 College of St. Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Bears advanced to the championship game by virtue of a 10-0 victory over #4 College of New Rochelle in the first semifinal in five innings. St. Joseph's plated nine runs in the second inning sending 15 batters to the plate and knocking eight hits.
Alyson Chiaramonte (Staten Island, NY/Moore Catholic) tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out nine and walking none for her 13th win of the season. Scheer had two hits, driving in two and scoring once. Theresa Mendez (Queens, NY/St. Francis Prep) had a hit, a stolen base, two RBI, and a run scored. Chiaramonte, Carissa Cancemi (Queens, NY/Martin Luther), Catherine Norris (Queens, NY/Long Island City) and Jennifer Safi (Brooklyn, NY/Bishop Kearney) all added two hits.
In the championship game, a rematch of last year's HVWAC semifinals where St. Joseph's fell 10-8, the two teams remained deadlocked in a pitching and defensive duel, both teams going scoreless through the regulation seven innings. Starting pitcher Scheer got off to a quick start in the circle, striking out the first five batters she faced. The two-time HVWAC Player of the Week tossed five innings of one-hit ball, before surrendering two hits in the sixth inning, but struck out the Screaming Eagles number two and three hitters to end the threat stranding runners on second and third.
St. Joseph's got five hits off starter Meghan Vollkammerbut only managed to put one runner in scoring position in the sixth inning, when Scheer reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She was stranded on second when Chiaramonte popped out in foul territory to the third baseman.
In the top of the seventh, Scheer retired the side in order with the assistance two great plays by Cancemi at shortstop throwing to a stretching Lauren Norris (Queens, NY/Long Island City) at first base. Norris led off the seventh inning with a single to right, her third of the game, for the potential winning run, but Vollkammer shut down the Lady Bears striking out the next three batters. Norris finished 4-for-4 over the tournament.
The game's first runs came in the eighth inning with the tiebreaker rule coming into effect, placing a runner on second base to start each frame. In the top of the eighth, St. Elizabeth sacrificed their leadoff batter successfully moving the runner to third, but the Lady Bears only miscue allowed the runner to score on the throw to first. The runner later advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Scheer managed a popout and a two flyouts to Mendez in center field to end the inning.
In the bottom half, St. Joseph's also attempted to sacrifice their leadoff batter, Safi, but she popped up the bunt and as St. Elizabeth's tried to double Cancemi on second base, threw the ball into the outfield allowing her to advance to third setting up a sacrifice fly from Mendez to left field that equalized the game 1-1.
In the ninth inning, Scheer gave up a leadoff walk, her only free pass of the game, and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with no outs facing the heart of the Screaming Eagle lineup. Scheer quickly ended the threat with two popups to the infield and a strikeout to leave St. Elizabeth's 2-3-4-5 batters, hitless for the game.
Scheer led off the bottom of the ninth inning, as set up by dramatic irony, and took the first pitch she saw deep to the left field fence, scoring Jackie Marinello(Brooklyn, NY/Fontbonne) who was placed on second for the game's deciding run. The entire Lady Bears squad ran onto the field in celebration mobbing Scheer at second.
Scheer earned her 13th win of the season giving up three hits and one run (unearned), with 11 strikeouts and one walk. For her efforts, Scheer was named HVWAC tournament Most Valuable Player.
Mendez went 2-for-3 in the game, with an RBI and two putouts in centerfield. L. Norris finished 3-for-3, the only other hits in the game for the Lady Bears.
In post game ceremonies, St. Joseph's collected their regular season and tournament championship trophies and each player and member of the coaching staff received championship plaques. Lisa Scheer, Alyson Chiaramonte, Jackie Marinello and Caitlyn Kakavas (Queens, NY/St. Agnes) were also announced on the 2009 HVWAC All-Conference Team.
St. Joseph's improves to 26-8, extending their winning streak to eight, and sets the record for the most wins in a season by any St. Joseph's College team in all sports. The Lady Bears board a plane on Tuesday to travel to Decatur, IL to compete in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Softball Tournament hosted by Robert Morris College Springfield. St. Joseph's is seeded number five and will face #4 Southern Virginia University in the first round of the double elimination tournament when play begins on Wednesday.
For tournament updates, please visit the St. Joseph's – Brooklyn Athletics website at www.sjcbears.com