WALTHAM, Mass. - Junior pitcher Emily Vaillette (Milford, N.H./Milford) and sophomore 1B Courtney Kelley (Leicester, Mass./Notre Dame Acad.) led the way today as the top-seeded Brandeis University softball team defeated eighth-seeded Curry College, 1-0, in the opening round of the 2009 ECAC Division III New England Softball Championships.
Vaillette retired the first 20 batters she faced before surrendering her only hit of the game. Only two balls left the infield before senior catcher Lauren Tobey (Lynn, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) singled to right field in the seventh inning. Vaillette, who had a no-hitter earlier in the season, tossed just 88 pitches, 60 for strikes. She only went to a three-ball count against three Colonel hitters, striking out four.
Curry sophomore starter Amanda Peters (E. Bridgewater, Mass./E. Bridgewater) was nearly as effective, allowing just five Brandeis hits. She allowed just one Brandeis base-runner through the first three innings, that coming on an error and kept the Judges off the board through four. Tobey was instrumental on defense as well, as she caught two Judges attempting to steal and picked another off at first base.
Brandeis got two hits in the fourth, but were unable to capitalize. Peters retired the first two Judges hitters in the fifth before facing Kelley. The reigning University Athletic Association Player of the Week, who had flied out to deep center field in her first at-bat connected on a 2-1 pitch and drove it over the fence in left-center field for the game's only run. It was her fourth round-tripper of the season and the eighth of her career.
The Judges threatened again in the sixth, with the first two runners reaching, but a double-steal attempt was unsuccessful, as Tobey nailed the runner going to third and Brandeis came up empty. Vaillette was helped out by her defense in the top of the seventh, as junior catcher Erin Ross (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) made a nice diving catch on a foul ball for the second out of the inning.
With the win, Brandeis improves to 26-15 on the season, while Vaillette moves to 12-8. Curry ends their season at 27-17, with Peters falling to 9-6. The Judges will continue their defense of the 2008 ECAC Division III crown on Saturday at 11 a.m., when they host fourth seed Western New England College. The Golden Bears defeated #5 Lesley College, 2-0.