WALTHAM, Mass. – For only the second time in program history, the Brandeis University softball team is headed to the NCAA Division III tournament. The Judges received an at-large Pool 'C' berth to the championships and will meet Penn State-Berks on Friday afternoon in the first round of a double-elimination regional at Ithaca College. The Judges will be making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010.
Brandeis posted a 27-6-1 record this season, the fifth-highest win total in program history. The Judges finished second in the University Athletic Association, their best performance in the league since 2008. Brandeis started the season with a 15-0-1 record, becoming the final team at any level of collegiate softball to suffer a loss. After their hot start, Brandeis posted a 10-6 record in the UAA, good for second place behind Emory University.
The Judges are guided by 2019 University Athletic Association (UAA) Coaching Staff of the Year award and head coach Danielle DelPonte along with assistant coaches Kelly Fluet, Emily Kraytenberg and Amanda Genovese.
The Judges were led by junior Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla/Strawberry Crest), who was named the UAA Pitcher of the Year. Todd finished second in the conference in ERA at 2.02 and tied for fourth in wins with 12, posting a 12-4 record. Her 61 strikeouts were also fourth in the league. Todd was also a threat for the Judges at the plate, finishing third in the league in home runs (5), on-base percentage (.473) and slugging percentage (.653). She was seventh with a .400 batting average and drove in 25 runs, ranking second on the team and 10th in the league.
The Judges also had two other first-team All-UAA selections in rookie pitcher Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame), who was 13-2 with 2.09 ERA and 101 strikeouts, only the sixth 100-K season in program history, and sophomore shortstop Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School), who hit .421 with 48 hits, 26 RBI and 34 runs scored. Senior catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) and rookie third baseman Marley Felder (Miami, Fla./American Heritage) were second-team All-UAA selections.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Brandeis and Penn State-Berks, who finished the season 31-8 and won the North Eastern Athletic Conference. The teams have one common opponent in Eastern Nazarene College, another NCAA tournament team. The Judges swept the Lions, 8-1 and 9-1, while the Nittany Lions dropped a 4-2 decision. Brandeis went 4-4 against NCAA tournament teams this year, winning twice each against Eastern Nazarene and Framingham State but suffering a four-game sweep at the hands of Emory in UAA play. PSUB lost to two NCAA opponents, Eastern Nazarene and Trine University, in non-conference action.
In the other first-round game on Friday, host Ithaca (26-7-1) will meet Farmingdale State (20-15). Brandeis will meet PSU-Berks at 2:00 p.m. on Friday in the first game of the weekend, followed by Ithaca-Farmingdale State. The winners will meet Saturday at noon, with elimination games following at 2:30 and 4:30. The Regional Championship game will take place Sunday at noon, with a winner-take-all game to follow if necessary. Tickets will be $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and veterans, $7 for students and $5 for children under 12.