BOSTON, Mass. – The top-seeded Lesley University Lynx went a perfect 3-0 in the Championship after receiving the first round bye and were crowned 2013 New England Collegiate Conference championships after a 15-6 win over Newbury College today on the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Today marked the fifth consecutive year that the Lynx have brought home the conference title.
This is Lesley's sixth straight conference title, winning the past five NECC titles and the 2008 North Atlantic Conference title.
The final game was an offensive affair as the two teams combined for 35 hits and 21 runs. Lesley sophomore Jodee Doka (Sacramento, Calif.) led the Lynx attack, finishing 4-5 with a double, three runs scored, and a game-high five RBI. Lynx lead-off hitter Emily Mangiaratti (Amherst, Mass.) also had four hits while scoring two and knocking in two.
Freshman Jordan Thomas (Fitchburg, Mass.) earned the win for the Lynx, striking out three and giving up four runs (three earned) in four innings of work.
Freshmen Sheri Liggiero (Tewksbury, Mass.) and Amber Rapchun (Corona, Calif.) each had three hits and a run scored for the Nighthawks, who beat Becker College earlier in the day to earn their first trip to the NECC Finals.
Freshman Alyssa Donovan (West Haven, Conn.) went 2-4 with a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI for Newbury while classmate Michaela McGowan (Nashua, N.H.) finished going 1-3 with two RBI.
Lesley opened up the scoring in the top of the third inning when Doka tucked a double inside the left field line bringing home freshman Angela Mukai (Amherst, N.H.) and later scored on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Mangiaratti sent a line-drive single back through the box to plate junior Sarah Apgar (Andover, N.J.). Apgar also had a solid day at the plate, going 3-3 with a walk, two runs, and two RBI.
After Newbury added a run in both the second and third innings, the Lynx took a commanding 10-2 lead after plating five runs on eight hits in the fourth.
The Nighthawks chipped in to the Lesley lead with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Newbury loaded the bases with no outs following a Donovan walk and back-to-back singles by Liggiero and Rapchun. McGowan got the first run across the plate with a sacrifice fly to deep center before sophomore Julia Flamenco (Copiague, N.Y.) singled up the middle to score Liggiero for the second run of the inning.
Newbury cut the lead to 10-6 with two more in the sixth inning before the Lynx put the game out of reach with five more runs in the top of the seventh to secure their title with the 15-6 win.
Lesley junior Nicole Mercurio (Wakefield, Mass.) was named NECC Tournament Most Valuable Player after hitting an even .500 (5-10) with four runs, three doubles, and four RBI and pitching eight innings, allowing four runs (three earned), 11 hits, and striking out six.
With her one double today, Mercurio also broke the Lynx record for doubles in a season with 20. The previous record of 19 was set by Jen LaRoche in 2002.
Joining Mercurio on the NECC All-Tournament team was senior Molly Sarson (Sanford, Me.) and sophomore Jodee Doka (Sacramento, Calif.). Sarson also hit .500 (5-10) with a double, two runs scored, and three RBI. Doka hit .555 (5-9) with a double, three runs scored, and five RBI.
The rest of the NECC All-Tournament team is below:
Kellie McLaughlin, Elms College
Rachel Butt, Elms College
Jessica Wheelahan, Becker College
Talan Barron, Becker College
Sheri Liggiero, Newbury College
Alyssa Donovan, Newbury College
Rebecca Roach, Newbury College
Jodee Doka, Lesley University
Molly Sarson, Lesley University
Nicole Mercurio, Lesley University*