With two wins over Middlesex County College this afternoon, the Dukes wrapped the Semi-Final series and move on to the NJCAA District F Championship. Cumberland is now two wins away from going back to Minnesota and the NJCAA DIII Softball National Championship Tournament.
The Dukes scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take Game 1 by a score of 5-2 and powered past the visiting Colts in Game 2, 9-6.
Cumberland freshman Samantha Sleister scored on a wild pitch following an opposite field triple to start the scoring in the first game. The Dukes were clinging to same 1-0 lead entering the sixth. The visiting Colts scored two runs to take the lead in the top of the frame on two doubles and an infield single, but they did not hold the lead for long.
A lead-off triple by Casey Kisielewski set the table for a go-ahead two-run homerun from Gabreille Castellini. The third seeded Dukes added two more on an RBI double from Rosalie LaGrotta, who then scored two batters later on a wild pitch. LaGrotta also picked up the win in the circle, going the distance, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out two.
Castellini: 1 for 3- HR, RBI, R
Kisielewski: 1 for 3- 3B, R
Sleister: 1 for 3- 3B, R
LaGrotta: 1 for 3- 2B, RBI, R / WP- 7IP, 5H, 2R, 2K
While Game 1 provided timely hits and a combined six of the game's seven runs scored in the sixth innings, Game 2 showcased more of a heavy-weight fight with the two teams going blow for blow in what turned out to be a 9-6 win for Cumberland.
Middlesex jumped out to an early 2-0 lead to start the game, with Cumberland responding with three runs of their own in the bottom of the 1st. Castellini, Sleister, and freshman Liz Carpani all connected with RBI singles after Carly DiDonna and Kisielewski started of the inning with a single and a walk.
In the second inning, the visitors recaptured the lead on a two-run homerun from Michelle Gebhardt. In response, the Dukes tied it up at four with a Castellini sacrifice fly, scoring DiDonna. DiDonna finished the second game 3 for 4, crossing the plate three times.
After trading runs in the third, Middlesex grabbed a 6-5 lead in the fourth before Cumberland's LaGrotta connected on a 2 RBI double in the fifth to score Carpani and Sleister. Taking the 7-6 lead into the sixth, the Dukes added two more insurance runs. Castellini drove in DiDonna after a lead-off double and then scored the Dukes ninth and final run on a passed ball.
DiDonna: 3 for 4- (2)2B, 3R
Castellini: 2 for 3- 3 RBI, R
LaGrotta: 2 for 4- 2R, 3 RBI
Carpani: 3 for 4- R, RBI
By taking the Semi-Final series in a 2-0 sweep over Middlesex County College, the Dukes now face off in the NJCAA District F Championship against Ocean County College. The two teams will play a best of 3 series on Saturday and Sunday, May 7th and 8th. The first two games will be played on Saturday May 7th, in the form of a doubleheader with the first pitch of Game 1 being throw right around 2:00 PM. A decisive Game 3 (if-necessary) will be played at 1:00 PM on Sunday May 8th if the two teams split Saturday's games.