NCAA Division III Softball Willimantic Regional: Tufts Claims Willimantic Regional Title With 5-0 Shutout of #2 Eastern Connecticut

MANSFIELD, Conn. –  Freshman Allyson Fournier (South Windsor, Conn.) spun a two-hit shutout to lead second-seeded Tufts to the 2012 NCAA Division-III Softball Willimantic Regional title with a 5-0 victory over host and top-seed Eastern Connecticut State University on Sunday afternoon.

The Jumbos will head to Salem, Virginia for a 6:30 p.m. game against the champion of the Newport News regional on Friday.

Fournier did not allow an earned run in 28 innings over the four-day competition and would be named the regional tournament's Most Outstanding Player for her efforts.

After a pair of scoreless frames, back-to-back run-producing singles by All-Tournament Team selections senior Lena Cantone (Southington, Conn.) and sophomore Jo Clair (Glastonbury, Conn.) gave the Jumbos the 2-0 advantage in the third inning.

Tufts increased its lead with a RBI double to left center off the bat of senior Mira Lieman-Sifry (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.) in the fourth.

An inning later, junior Emily Beinecke (Concord, Mass.) drove in a run on a base hit to center for the Jumbos. Cantone sent the ball to left field to help plate the final run of the regional portion of the tournament in the sixth.

Fournier's no-hit bid was broken up by a flair to center field by junior Kelly Paterson (Southington, Conn.) in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Eastern Connecticut junior Arielle Cooper (Easttford, Conn.) recorded the only other hit for the Warriors as she led off the seventh with a base hit to left.

Tufts sophomore Kayla Holland (Attleborough, Mass.) and Clair each batted 2-for-3 while Cantone was 3-for-4 on the day. Sophomore Sara Hedtler (Wrentham, Mass.) rounded out the Jumbos All-Tournament team selections with a 2-for-4 outing.

For the contest, Fournier struck out eight and issued one free pass on her way to a 22-1 record. Senior Molly Rathbun (Hebron, Conn.) surrendered three runs – two earned – on seven hits while fanning five batters as she was saddled with the loss and completes her final season with a 33-3 ledger.

Rathbun, Cooper and Paterson joined their Tufts counterparts Hedtler, Cantone, Clair and Fournier on the All-Tournament team. The full team can be found below:

Mattie Brett, OF, Eastern Connecticut

Francesca Busa, IF, Ithaca

Lena Cantone, IF, Tufts

Jo Clair, C, Tufts

Hayley Feindel, P, Coast Guard

Sydney Folk, IF, Ithaca

Allyson Fournier, P, Tufts*

Sara Hedtler, OF, Tufts

Stephanie Johnson, OF, Eastern Connecticut

Nina Korn, IF, Rochester

Kelly Paterson, UTL, Eastern Connecticut

Molly Rathbun, UTL, Eastern Connecticut

Jessica Richardson, C, Coast Guard


*Most Outstanding Player