AROUND THE HORN: Rich, ECSU take Little East baseball title; Biel & Warriors bound for softball Super Regional; Marotto, Gulls fall in regional final; Fengler third in NE

MANSFIELD — Meriden’s Jack Rich left the yard at Eastern Baseball Stadium on Saturday as top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University beat fifth-seeded UMass Dartmouth 16-1 in the Little East Conference championship game.

Eastern (39-3) dominated in claiming its 10th Little East crown. The Warriors outscored their four opponents in the double-elimination tournament by a combined 35-8.

Now it’s on to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Ranked No. 1 nationally, Eastern will be making its 36th appearance.

Rich, a Wilcox Tech grad, is in his senior season at ECSU. He’s batting .361 (35-for-97) with three home runs and 30 runs batted in.

Also in the lineup from time to time are a pair of sophomores out of Southington by way of St. Paul, Josh Confrancesco and Ryan Parent. Confrancecso is hitting .281 (9-for-32) and Parent is at .343 (12;or-25) with 12 RBI.

Biel, ECSU softball advance to Super Regionals

UNION, N.J. — A two-run double by Wallingford’s Carolyn Biel helped drive the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team past host Kean University 5-1 on Sunday in the NCAA Division III Union Regional.

The victory — the 40th of the season for the Warriors, — set up a winner-take-all rematch with Kean on Monday morning in the regional final, which ECSU won in even more dominant fasthion, 8-0.

No. 3 nationally ranked Eastern (41-5) now advances to a best-of-three Super Regional. The Warriors will host that series against No. 16 Randolph-Macon College (35-9) at Clyde Washburne Field. Game 1 is Friday at 2 p.m. Game 2 is Saturday at noon. Game 3, if needed, would follow on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

ECSU is hot, having won 28 of its last 30 games. In the regional tournament at Kean, Eastern batted .333, did not commit an error, and had a staff ERA of 1.58 with 29 strikeouts and only 12 hits allowed. All but two of those hits were singles.

Biel, a junior catcher/third baseman out of Sheehan, is batting .284 on the season (23-for-81) with seven extra-base hits, including two home runs. She’s driven in 15 runs.

Marotto, EC reach softball regional final

SALISBURY, Md. — Southington native Chrissy Marotto and the Endicott College softball team fell to No. 4 nationally ranked Salisbury, 5-2, in the NCAA Division III Salisbury Regional final on Sunday evening.

Salisbury, a perfect 27-0 at home this season, advances to the Super Regionals while Endicott’s Commonwealth Coast Conference championship season ended at 32-13.

Eariler Sunday, Marotto had a RBI single to help Endicott beat Penn State Berks 5-1, a victory that sent the Gulls on to the regional final.

A junior who plays both infield and outfield, Marotto finished the season with a .333 batting average (44-for-132), three home runs, 29 RBI and 30 runs scored.

SCSU’s Fengler places in New England meet

SMITHFIELD, R.I. — A third-place finish in the 10,000 meters by Wallingford’s Elizabeth Fengler helped the Southern Connecticut State University women’s track and field team place eighth this weekend in the New England Championships.

While eighth overall, the Owls were No. 2 among fellow Division II schools. (The New England meet features the regions best from all levels, D-I through D-III.)

Fengler, a Sheehan grad, clocked in at 37:26.39. Her third-place finish in the 10,000 was the best in New England for an SCSU runner since 2008.

A graduate student who had a year of eligibility left, Fengler posted personal-best times this spring in the 3,000 (10:29.58), the 5,000 (17:46.14) and the 10,000 (37:09.57).

The latter two times came at the Northeast-10 Conference Championships. Fengler was third in the 5,000 at that meet and second in the 10,000.


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