WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University softball team, coming off a 23-16 regular season, has earned the top seed in the 2012 Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England tournament. The Judges will take on eighth-seeded Daniel Webster College, with a record of 23-19, on Wednesday, May 9, at 4 p.m.
Brandeis, ranked No. 5 in the most recent NCAA Regional poll, earns the top seed in the ECAC tournament for the third time in the past five years. The Judges won the title in 2008 and were runners-up in 2009 and 2011, making an NCAA tournament appearance in 2010. Brandeis finished in a tie for fourth place in the University Athletic Association, which sent three squads to the NCAA tournament.
Under sixth-year head coach Jessica Johnson, the Judges are led by a strong senior class. They include first-team All-UAA 1B Marianne Specker of South Windsor, Conn., (.414 BA, 39 RBI, 10 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR) and second-team selections Brittany Grimm of Perkiomenville, Pa., (.424 BA, 34 RBI, 15 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR) at shortstop and Lauren Porcaro of Shrewsbury, Mass., (.331 BA, 32 RBI, 9 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR) in center field. Right fielder Amanda Genovese of North Haven, Conn., (.385 BA, 1 2B, 1 3B, 37 R, 17 SB) was named the UAA Rookie of the year. Senior Caroline Miller of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., led the Judges in the circle with a 13-7 record and 135 strikeouts, the second-highest single-season total in school history.
Daniel Webster is making its first ECAC tournament appearance after setting a school record with 23 wins. The Eagles finished third in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and reached their first-ever conference title game, falling to Lesley University. First-year head coach Danielle DelPont was named NECC Coach of the Year after guiding DWC to a seven-game turnaround in league play, while junior CF Chelsey Crawford was a first-team All-Conference selection after hitting .375 with 32 RBI on the season.
The teams had two common opponents this year, Lesley and Framingham State. Brandeis went 3-0 against those squads, while DWC was 0-4. The Judges are 3-1 against the ECAC field (swept Endicott and split with Worcester State), while the Eagles did not face any other teams in the field.
The rest of the ECAC tournament first round sees #2 Salve Regina taking on #7 Simmons; #3 Endicott playing #6 Worcester State; and #4 Plymouth State facing #5 Rivier. The four first-round winners will meet for a double-elimination tournament at the site of the highest remaining seed on Saturday and Sunday.