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Softball earns first playoff berth since 2011
Monday, April 27, 2015

Softball earns first playoff berth since 2011

Five Fredonia softball seniors were honored Saturday. From left are Jess Lauck, Cherise Gunnell, Kelsey Gannett, and Kait Crossan. (Missing: Kate Nicholson.)

Fredonia and Buffalo State were making playoff plans following Saturday's SUNYAC softball doubleheader at Blue Devil Field.

The visiting Bengals left the premises with the momentum that came from a doubleheader sweep over the Blue Devils, 8-3 and 14-8. Buffalo State finished 17-14 overall with a SUNYAC record of 11-7.

Fredonia ended the afternoon knowing that, despite its late season struggles, its fast start to the conference season was beneficial. The Blue Devils came away from the day with a 13-16 mark, yet a 10-8 record in the conference. That, coupled with New Paltz's two losses Saturday to Brockport, earned the Blue Devils with their first playoff berth since 2011.

The six-team tournament starts Thursday morning at SUNY Cortland. The Blue Devils go in as the No. 6 seed, which requires a first-round meeting with the host and No. 1 seed Red Dragons at 9 a.m. Thursday. Buffalo State will be either the No. 4 or No. 5 seed, depending on the outcome of the Brockport at Oneonta game Monday.

Buffalo State's Alexis Haley was the winning pitcher in both games Saturday. She picked up the Game 1 win in relief, then followed up with a complete-game effort in Game 2. On the opposite side of the ledger was Fredonia senior Kelsey Gannett (Endwell, N.Y./Union-Endicott), who started and took the loss in both games.

The Blue Devils never led in either game, yet kept putting runners on base to keep things interesting. Three players had two hits each in the opener -- freshman Nikki Lent (Yaphank, N.Y./Longwood), and juniors Lindsey Forness (Allegany, N.Y./Allegany-Limestone) and Alyssa Morgan (Homer, N.Y./Homer). Stephanie Novo led the Buffalo State 11-hit attack with a double, two singles, a stolen base, two runs scored, and two RBI.

The teams combined for 31 hits in Game 2 -- 18 by Buffalo State, 13 by the Blue Devils. Fredonia freshman Katelyn Dennis (Webster, N.Y./Webster Schroeder) was the top hitter for either team with 4 for 4, including her first collegiate home run, a three-run line shot to center in the fifth inning. Forness and Morgan each two more hits again. For Buffalo State, Novo had three hits, including a homer, and three RBI, Kate Brownell also had three hits, and Taylor Swiatek scored four runs.

Saturday was also Senior Day with all 11 seniors -- six from Buffalo State and five from Fredonia -- earning pre-game recognition. In addition to Gannett, the quintet of Blue Devils recognized were Kaitlyn Crossan (Dunkirk, N.Y./Dunkirk), Cherise Gunnell (Falconer, N.Y./Falconer), Jess Lauck (Buffalo, N.Y./Kenmore West), and Kate Nicholson (Heuvelton, N.Y./Heuvelton). They, like all their teammates, will be participating in the SUNYAC Tournament for the first time next week.

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