Grand Slam Dooms Chargers Championship Hopes


Photo Courtesy of Charger Athletics

Softball ended their season Saturday as they lost to No. 2 LIU Post 6-3 in the NCAA Division II East Region Championship. The Chargers entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed but couldn’t complete the Cinderella story.

The Chargers opened the double elimination tournament against the Pioneers on Thursday, May 3. LIU Post got on the board early as they scored two runs in the first two innings. New Haven did not have a response as they were shutout 2-0 for only the third time this season. The Chargers offense was not up to par as they only accumulated five hits and left eight runners on base. Freshman pitcher Mia Iodice had a solid performance as she pitched six innings, gave up four hits, surrendered two runs, and accumulated six strikeouts. The loss sent New Haven to the loser’s bracket where they picked up some magic along the way.

The Chargers offense came alive Friday as they were able to upset No. 3 Wilmington and No. 6 Adelphi to stay alive. New Haven was led by the big bat of senior Vanessa Strohm who hit two home runs to secure the 7-4 win against Wilmington. Senior Maddy Derosia led the team against Adelphi as she spearheaded a six run fifth inning with a two run single and a run scored. The Chargers won 6-2 to advance to the NCAA East Region Final for a rematch with LIU Post.  

The Chargers got to the Pioneers early as they were able to plate two runs in the top of the second. After a Derosia double, junior Cat Vaughn was able to drive her in off a fielding error. Freshman Mya Case was able to drive in the Chargers second run on a sacrifice fly. New Haven added to their lead in the fifth inning when junior Alexandria Cunkle drove in Strohm with an RBI single to give the Chargers a 3-0 lead. The pesky Pioneers were able to get back in it with runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings to cut their deficit to 3-2. New Haven had an opportunity to give themselves a few insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning but couldn’t get it done. With one out and runners on the corners, head coach Jen Starek called for the suicide squeeze. Derosia laid down the bunt, senior Taylor Luzzi was tagged out at home and pinch runner Nahtali Simpson was tagged out going from first to third for an inning ending double play. The momentum had shifted in the Pioneers favor, with the heart of the lineup due up in the bottom of the seventh. With the pressure on, Iodice hit the first batter. After two pitches the Chargers decided to intentionally walk the ECC Player of the Year Julia Seader, who had burned them with a home run in the first game. With the tying and winning runs on base, Iodice hit another batter to load the bases. With the bases loaded and no outs, the game was ripe for the taking for sophomore Hannah Finkelstein. After a first pitch foul, Finkelstein hit a deep fly ball to left field, Vaughn went back put her glove up but wasn’t able to come up with it as the ball hit off her glove and went over the wall ending the Chargers magical run with a walk off grand slam.

The Chargers have nothing to hang their heads about as they ended the 2019 season with a 33-16 overall record with a 23-6 record in the NE-10 Conference. The Chargers 33 wins were the most since 2013 when they accumulated 38. This is also the furthest the team has gotten in the NCAA DII East Region Championship since that very same year.