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Losses to Delaware and Hofstra eliminate Stony Brook softball from CAA tournament

Players from the Stony Brook softball team look on as center fielder Alicia Orosco follows through her swing after slapping a ball against Elon on Friday, April 26. Orosco led the Seawolves with three hits through their final two games of the 2024 season. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

On day two of the 2024 Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) softball tournament, the Stony Brook softball team’s bats went silent as it had its postseason run come to an abrupt end.

After a successful playoff opener at Boseman Field, the third-seeded Seawolves (35-17, 19-8 CAA) began their Thursday in Wilmington, N.C. with a 3-0 matinee loss to the second-seeded Delaware Blue Hens (39-12, 21-6 CAA). With the defeat placing it on the brink of elimination, Stony Brook was upset and sent packing by its archnemesis — the sixth-seeded Hofstra Pride (23-25, 17-10 CAA) — for a second consecutive year, as it fell 2-0 on Thursday night.

During the first of their two games, Delaware starting pitcher Emily Winburn had her way with the Seawolves.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Blue Hens jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. With two outs and starting pitcher Mia Haynes in the circle, Delaware third baseman Julia Boyet lined a double just past center fielder Alicia Orosco, who quickly recovered by hitting shortstop Kyra McFarland with a relay throw. Though McFarland appeared to have Boyet dead to rights at third base, her throw ricocheted off Boyet’s helmet, allowing her to trot home with the game’s first run.

Following up its first-inning tally, Delaware added a pair of runs in the home half of the second. To start the frame, the Blue Hens strung together three consecutive singles to load the bases for catcher Maddie Fife, who picked up a run batted in (RBI) with a fielder’s choice.

Haynes nearly limited the damage to one run after striking out Delaware left fielder Jenna Giattino for the second out but immediately after, center fielder Julz Garber chopped an RBI single through the middle to extend her team’s advantage to 3-0.

After a flukey Little League home run in the first inning and a strenuous second, Haynes and relief pitcher Ashton Melaas combined for four scoreless frames to keep Stony Brook in the contest. However, Winburn proved to be too difficult to overcome for the Seawolves.

Stony Brook’s best and only true opportunity to break through against Winburn came in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs, right fielder Alyssa Costello worked a walk and Orosco beat out a throw from Delaware shortstop Chloe Blantz for an infield single, but McFarland lined out to Delaware second baseman Katie Scheivert to end the threat.

Those two base runners and a single by Orosco to lead off the game were all the Seawolves were able to muster up against Winburn, as she struck out six batters en route to a complete-game shutout.

Despite her rocky start, Haynes finished strong. Through five innings of work, she allowed three runs (two earned), five hits and two walks while striking out five batters.

In her lone inning out of the bullpen, Melaas issued a walk and racked up three strikeouts.

The loss bumped Stony Brook out of the winner’s bracket and right into an elimination game against Hofstra. Though they defeated Hofstra starting pitcher Julia Apsel to begin the tournament, she flipped the script on the Seawolves in the rematch, prematurely bringing their season to a close and ensuring that the reigning CAA champion’s title defense would continue.

After stranding a base runner in each of the first three innings, the Pride drew first blood in the top of the fourth. With Haynes pitching, Hofstra designated player Olivia Malinowski notched a leadoff double when she laced a line drive to Costello, who dove and got to the ball but failed to secure it. Immediately after, Hofstra first baseman Aliya Catanzarita reached on an error, as McFarland’s throw took first baseman Corinne Badger off the bag.

Hofstra right fielder Chelsea Villar bunted both runners over into scoring position and shortstop Alanna Morse followed by bouncing an RBI single through the middle of the diamond to make it 1-0. During the next at-bat, Haynes walked Hofstra third baseman Mackenzie Fitzgerald to fill the bases but induced a pair of ground outs to shimmy out of danger.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Pride padded their lead. Catanzarita led off the frame with an infield single and McFarland booted a routine ground ball that Villar sent her way, allowing her to safely reach first base. With one gone, Fitzgerald dumped an RBI single into center field to make it 2-0 and chase Haynes from the game in favor of Melaas.

After recording just two hits and a walk over its first six innings, Stony Brook made a last-ditch effort to tie the game in the home half of the seventh. Second baseman Sofia Chambers registered a one-out single and with two outs, Apsel drilled second baseman Naiah Ackerman — who was pinch hitting — in the helmet to put the tying runs on base. However, Costello went down swinging to conclude the Seawolves’ season.

Reminiscent of its second-round matchup with the Blue Hens, Stony Brook was completely stymied by a dominant ace, wasting another gutsy outing from Haynes. Apsel needed minimal run support, as she hurled a complete-game shutout to the tune of three hits, a walk, hit-by-pitch and eight punchouts.

Haynes allowed two runs, seven hits and a walk while striking out two batters across 5 ⅓ innings. Overall, Haynes tossed 10 ⅓ innings on the day, surrendering five runs (four earned), 12 hits and three walks while punching out seven hitters.

In relief, Melaas twirled 1 ⅔ scoreless frames, allowing just one hit. Through her two appearances out of the bullpen on Thursday, she struck out three batters and allowed a hit and walk across 2 ⅔ shutout innings.

During both games, the Seawolves were dead in the water at the plate. Orosco was the team’s only standout offensive performer. She accounted for three of her team’s five hits through the two shutouts, going 3-for-6.

Chambers went 1-for-4 in the doubleheader, McFarland went 1-for-6 and Ackerman went 0-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch. Left fielder Catherine Anne Kupinski went 0-for-5 with a walk while Costello also drew a walk but went hitless in four official at-bats.

Stony Brook’s disappointing exit from the tournament sets up what is bound to be an interesting offseason. With most of the team’s core players set to graduate and move on from the program, head coach Megan Bryant will have to decide what returning Seawolves have earned an increased role and potentially look for outside help for next season after the sting of the loss subsides.

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About the Contributor
Anthony DiCocco
Anthony DiCocco, Assistant Sports Editor
Anthony DiCocco is an Assistant Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a sophomore majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports derives from years of playing dek hockey and watching his favorite teams, the New York Islanders, New York Mets and New York Jets. He is the beat reporter for Stony Brook’s hockey and softball teams. He has also covered football, baseball, men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer. He was previously the Editor-in-Chief of his high school newspaper the Devil’s Tale at Plainedge High School. He is a local product from North Massapequa, N.Y.
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