Category Archives: Softball

Softball Gets First Win Against UPenn

by Humera Gul

The Central Connecticut State University Softball team got their first win of the season, 6-3 against University of Pennsylvania on March 9. The game was at Eddie C. Moore Field in Clearwater, Florida. The game uplifted CCSU’s record to 1-5. UPenn dropped to 4-6.

Emily Sargent pitched a complete game for the Blue Devils. She struck out three and walked three, while giving up a total of nine hits and three runs, with only two earned.

Sargent stopped many attempts by the Quakers early in the game.  For the Blue Devils, Brittany McNulla and Brittany Camara played strong the entire game. McNulla had the team’s first hit and Camara began the rally in the sixth inning. Alexis Debrosse walked on four balls to first base in the sixth inning.

UPenn made two pitching changes to stop the rally from CCSU. However, it fell short as CCSU scored two more runs. Maddie Landry scored on a hit-by-pitch and Sarah Ogilvie brought in Camara with a single.

McNulla went up to bat four times and had one run and three hits and allowed a run. She went up to bat with a vengeance each time and hit three times in her four opportunities.

Kerri Dadalski went up to bat a total of three times. She had one run and one hit, and had 3 RBIs. Dadalski had a double play that sealed the game for the Blue Devils.

Debrosse went up to bat three times and had one run and no hits. She got the base on balls and could score for the Blue Devils and struck out once. Debrosse proved to be patient and took a base on balls delivered and scored off that base as the Blue Devils put together a good finish.

Come On, Eileen: Purcell Plates Three in Senior Day Split


by Sean Begin

When the two teams tied for the top in the Northeast Conference met on the diamond Sunday, the opportunity was there for someone to emerge as the sole leader.

But after dropping the first game 2-0 and winning the second 3-0, Central Connecticut (28-9) and Robert Morris (24-20) remained tied for first, each team sporting a 12-2 record in conference play.

“I think that’s a perfect example of our conference, it’s so evenly matched, every team is so good,” said acting head coach Breanne Gleason. “Nicole [Sleith] is a great pitcher. She’s a strikeout pitcher, she’s a ground ball pitcher, she’s everything.”

Sleith held Central to just four hits in the game one shutout victory, striking out eight. Senior Laura Messina matched Sleith’s eight K’s and four hits allowed, but two sailed over the outfield fence courtesy of RMU’s Tess Apke.

The Blue Devils got to Sleith early in game two, giving Messina a 2-0 lead she would never relinquish.

After an Ashley Black bunt single and a throwing error by RMU’s shortstop, junior Eileen Purcell tripled to the right field corner, plating Black and senior Kat Malcolm. Purcell would deliver an unnecessary insurance run with two outs in the third, when she deposited a Sleith pitch over the left field wall.

“We all laugh because Eileen used to hate to hit,” said Gleason. “When she fields, she’s in such a good mood, and then when we do [batting practice], she’s not as happy. But this year she told us she was going to fake being happy during hitting so maybe she would like it more, and I think she’s starting to like it more after today.”

Purcell seems to have found her stride at the plate for more than just Sunday’s game. She’s been one of Central’s best hitters all season. She’s second on the team in RBIs (24) and third in home runs (4), average (.281) and slugging percentage (.447) while hitting in the cleanup spot this year.

“She’s a good person to put into that fourth slot because she’s really good with tough pitches,” said Gleason. “As a pitcher you’re going to throw your best stuff against 3-4-5, and she does a good job with tough pitches.”

The third-inning home run was the second of the weekend for Purcell. She sent one over the wall in the second game against St. Francis (Pa.) on Saturday that plated two in a 6-0 Central victory. Like Sunday’s game two, Purcell finished that game with 3 RBIs and added a fourth in the 5-0 game one win. Purcell finished the weekend 4-for-10 with 7 RBIs, 2 home runs and a triple.

Sunday’s game one was the only rough spot in an otherwise polished weekend in the circle for Messina. Over 28 innings, she allowed just 16 hits and gave up only four walks, good for a 0.714 WHIP (walks/hits per inning pitched). She struck out 23 and allowed just the two runs on Sunday.

The three shutouts give Messina 15 on the season to lead the nation. Coming into the weekend, her 0.91 ERA was good for third in the country, but after lowering it to 0.85 with her performance this weekend, she could jump into second.

Despite the implications of Sunday’s series against Robert Morris, Central was focused heading into Saturday’s games against St. Francis (Pa.), according the Gleason and as evidenced by the outcome.

“If you overlook a team in this conference, you’re going to drop a game, maybe two,” said Gleason. “So we were really focused on St. Francis, then after the game, we started to focus on Robert Morris but we talked about both teams all week.”

Central finishes the season with a game at Quinnipiac on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and a double-header at LIU-Brooklyn on May 2 at 1 p.m. to wrap up conference play. Regardless of the outcome of that last series, Central has clinched a spot in the NEC tournament that will start May 7 at either Robert Morris or home in New Britain.

Debrosse Delivers at the Plate and in the Field

by Navindra Persaud

Central Connecticut softball has been playing well this year, in no small part to exemplary performance by one of the team’s youngest players: freshman Alexis Debrosse.

Debrosse comes to New Britain by way of New Bedford High School in New Bedford, Mass. where she was named player of the year three times. Continue reading Debrosse Delivers at the Plate and in the Field


by Sean Begin

The Central Connecticut softball team, following the weekend, has played in three Northeast Conference double headers. All of them have been swept.

But this weekend’s games against LIU-Brooklyn on Saturday and Wagner on Sunday did not see the Blue Devils celebrating at the end of both days.

The Blackbirds (13-24, 2-2 NEC) took both games from Central (15-11, 4-2 NEC) on Saturday, blanking the Blue Devils in game one 4-0 before winning in extras — 4-3 — in game two.

Central had edged LIU-Brooklyn in the NEC preseason poll by a 5-4 vote to be named number one heading into the season.

Central responded against Wagner (13-17, 0-4 NEC) on Sunday, however, taking game one 2-1 before putting together a shut out of their own; winning 4-0 in game two.

“We didn’t really put it together,” said acting head coach Breanne Gleason of the team’s performance on Saturday. “We had a few good innings. Our defense was great. Laura threw well. We just couldn’t put it together on offense.”

The Blue Devils were held to just five hits in game one by LIU’s Cassie Vondrak who earned the win in both games on Saturday. Central had runners on second and third in both the first and third innings but failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Junior Kat Malcolm led the team with two hits.

LIU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning of game two. Central took the lead on a two-run home run from Malcolm in the bottom of the third inning. LIU took the lead back with two runs in the top of the fifth.

But an RBI single from senior Tessa Brown that scored sophomore Evie Rentzel in the bottom of the inning tied the score, leading to extras. LIU scored the winning run in the top of the eighth and Vondrak pitched a 1-2-3 inning to finish the sweep.

“Against a really good team like LIU, if you don’t put it together, you’re not going to win. It just wasn’t our day,” said Gleason.

Junior Laura Messina took the losses in both games. She struck out six in the first game but gave up a home run and only fanned three in the second game.

The Blue Devils came back Sunday looking to right the offensive ship against the Seahawks of Wagner.

In game one on Sunday, Messina shut the Seahawks down, making the two runs the Blue Devils scored more than enough. Messina struck out 12 Wagner players in the contest. The only run came on a Wagner home run in the seventh to the first batter of the inning. Messina got the next batter to line out and she struck out the final two to seal the 2-1 Blue Devil win.

Freshman Alexis Debrosse knocked in senior Arielle Bruno in the first for the game’s first run. Rentzel scored the eventual winning run on a double in the sixth to score Malcolm.

Central opened the scoring early again in game two. Debrosse started things off by singling in Bruno.  Sophomore Eileen Purcell followed that up with a single to left that scored Rentzel.

The two runs proved more than enough for Messina who struck out eight to bring her total on the day to 20. She allowed six hits while holding the Seahawks scoreless.

“I feel like she — because LIU scored four runs in both games — as a pitcher she took a lot of brunt for that loss on herself,” said Gleason of Messina’s approach to Sunday’s games.

“So I think she came out today thinking if she can hold them to one or no runs that we have a way better shot. And with that mentality you can’t stop her.”

Central added a run in the fifth, on a single from Brown that scored Bruno, and another in the sixth, when senior Ashley Black scored on an error.

“We talked about stepping up and we talked about being in the box with a runner on two or three and saying ‘I’m going to get this RBI, I’m going to get this run in,’ instead of thinking that the person that’s on deck will do it,” said Gleason.

“I think they did a better job of stepping up and being the one to get that runner in today.”

Central will now hit the road for NEC play, after hosting their first three series of the year. Named preseason number one, the team now finds itself in fourth place in the conference, looking to improve.

“We’ve just got to hit one through nine. Right now, the top of our order looks pretty good; they’re getting on a lot,” said Gleason. “But we need everybody to hit. So we’re definitely going to look to spark the offense a little bit before we get to the weekend.”

Central will spend the next two weekends on the road, starting this weekend against Fairleigh Dickinson on April 12 and Bryant on April 13, both double headers.

Softball Sweeps Sacred Heart to Open NEC Play

Messina:Debrosse vs SHU (3-29-14) (Ernestina Souza)


by Sean Begin

The Central Connecticut softball team was looking for a fast start to conference play this season. Thanks to a sweep of Sacred Heart on Saturday, and some timely weather postponing all other Northeast Conference games, the Blue Devils now sit firmly in first place.

“It’s huge,” said acting head coach Breanne Gleason. “In this conference, with us dropping two teams, every win is going to count. I told the girls we have to go at every single team.”

“We want to host it here, we want to play here, and we want to make it to the tournament,” added senior Laura Messina. “And that means we have to win every game. No let up.”

Messina pitched both games for the Blue Devils (12-9, 2-0 NEC), shutting out Sacred Heart (9-10, 0-2 NEC) in the first game 5-0 and holding off a Pioneer rally to win 4-3 in the second game.

“We did a great job of coming out with a lot of energy,” said Gleason. “That first game we played really well; we were solid. That second game we were a little shaky but Sacred Heart came out swinging.”

The Blue Devil’s big hit in the first game came in the third inning, off the bat of freshman Alexis Debrosse who hit a two-run home run to right field that scored senior Tessa Brown.

“She swings hard every single time,” said Gleason of Debrosse. “As a freshman, to step up like that is huge. She’s not up there thinking ‘I’m a freshman, someone else can do it,’ she wants to get it done.”

Debrosse scored the previous inning, coming home from third on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Sami Duffy. A Sacred Heart error on a grounder from senior Arielle Bruno allowed sophomore Hannah Cooper to score the fourth run of the game.

Brown started the scoring for the Blue Devils in the bottom of the first when she doubled home Bruno, who had opened the inning with a single.

Messina held the Pioneers to just two hits over seven innings, fanning eight in the shutout.

“I think our team looked amazing,” said Messina of the Blue Devil’s first series at home. “It’s nice to come back after a bad weekend and know that our team is going to come up big with runs and plays.”

Central held off a fifth-inning rally from Sacred Heart to take the second game, as well.

Messina opened the inning with a walk before getting Jenn Robillard to fly out. Andrea Sidor followed up the out with a double to set the Pioneers up with runners on second and third and one out.

A sac bunt secured the second out but scored the runner from third, pulling the Pioneers within two. Messina walked and hit the next two batters to load the bases. Her third walk of the inning pulled Sacred Heart within one.

“That first game she came out, she looked rested, she looked good,” said Gleason of Messina’s day. “That second game she got in a little bit of a jam but I think that’s a credit to the Sacred Heart hitters. They made adjustments and our defense had to make the plays and they did.”

Messina ended the threat by getting Kelyn Fillmore to ground out and finished the game without allowing another base runner. Messina finished the game allowing three runs on four hits, walking and striking out three.

“Just trusting my pitches and trusting my defense,” said Messina of how she pitched out of the fifth inning jam. “I know everyone is going to make a play; like Eileen made an awesome play. I know that’s what’s going to happen when they put the ball in play.”

The Blue Devils scored all four of their runs in the fourth. Sophomore Eileen Purcell started the scoring by singling home fellow sophomore Evie Rentzel. Cooper picked up a pair of RBIs to give Central the lead, on a single to right that scored Purcell and Debrosse.

A balk from Sacred Heart pitcher Kaci Wentworth scored Cooper from third for the Blue Devil’s fourth and subsequent winning run of the game.

“That second game we were a little shaky but Sacred Heart came out swinging. And they did a great job. They’re a tough team,” said Gleason. “That second game is what the NEC is going to be all about. We have to practice situations like that for later on.”

Sunday’s double header at Fairleigh Dickinson was postponed, so the Blue Devils will return to NEC action again this weekend when they host two double headers: LIU-Brooklyn on Saturday and Wagner on Sunday.