Row 1 (L-R): Danielle Koltz, Sarah Carmody, Krysen Van Natta.
Row 2 (L-R): Paige Lewis, Haley Birnbaum, Emily Osterhaus, Maureen Duddy, Aly Klemmer, Christina Lausch, Janine Lalli.
Row 3 (L-R): Assistant Coach Melissa Giordano, Taylor Kuzma, Alyssa Zahka, Colleen McWilliams, Nicole Cheek, Alex Hraniotis, Melanie White, Joelle Zahka, Head Coach Joe Ausanio.
MAAC Championship Recap
The Marist Softball team defeated Fairfield 4-1 to win the 2013 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Softball Championship. It was the second MAAC Championship in the program’s history after the 2006 Red Foxes earned the school’s first-ever title. In a storyline that unfolded for the Red Foxes throughout the tournament, strong pitching and timely hitting were pivotal. Led by senior pitcher Emily Osterhaus and home runs by freshman Nicole Cheek and senior Danielle Koltz, Marist earned the exciting victory in front of their home fans at Gartland Field.
Osterhaus, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, immediately proved her veteran guile with a bases loaded no-out situation in the top of the first inning. The captain and her strong defense would navigate through the 4-5-6 portion of the Stags’ lineup with successive outs. It was highlighted by a double play off of a fly out to left field and a put out at the plate from Christina Lausch's throw home; a fly out to center field ended the threat. After the rocky first inning, Osterhaus would settle in and cruise without allowing a hit until the fifth inning. Fairfield finally got to Osterhaus in the fifth with its first hit and first run of the contest with three singles highlighted by Kristen Filicia’s RBI base hit to left field.
With the score 3-1, Marist immediately responded in the bottom of the inning with a first-pitch home run by Koltz out over the right-center field fence. Afforded a three-run lead, Osterhaus put the Red Foxes on her back over the final two innings with three ground outs, a pair of strikeouts, and a fly out. Her second strikeout came for out number 21, the final of the game, as she retired Brianna Levick with a swing and a miss for strike three. After the contest, Koltz, Maureen Duddy and Aly Klemmer were named to the All-Tournament Team. Osterhaus went 3-0 in the tournament with 14 strikeouts while only giving up nine hits and two earned runs for a 0.67 ERA.
NCAA Tournament Recap
The Red Foxes went on to face the number one overall seed, and soon to be national champion, Oklahoma Sooners in the opening game of the NCAA Tournament. The team lost handily, 17-1, but would get the opportunity to continue their season in an elimination game against Fordham. The team battled hard but came up short to the Rams, 5-3. Senior Danielle Koltz, junior Alyssa Zahka and freshman Kyrsten Van Natta led Marist’s offense as each player had a pair of hits. In her final collegiate start Emily Osterhaus threw a complete game, allowing five runs, while striking out two Rams.
Marist immediately challenged Fordham in the first inning, as Maureen Duddy walked and Koltz singled up the middle to put two runners on with no outs. Three consecutive put outs by the Rams would quell Marist’s attempt to score first. Fordham would break through in the bottom of the second inning by stringing together a walk and two singles to go up 1-0. The Rams extended their lead to two runs with back-to-back two out hits in the third; first a single and then a double to right-center by Gaby Luety.
In the top of the fourth inning, Marist tied it up by sending eight batters up to the plate. Consecutive singles by Nicole Cheek, Zahka and Aly Klemmer loaded the bases for Van Natta, who stepped in and hit an infield single deep into the six-hole for Marist’s first RBI of the tournament. The following batter, Janine Lalli singled to center field to tie the game up at 2-2. Back-to-back ground outs and consequential force outs at home would hold Marist from scoring further. A pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning would put Fordham back in the lead at 4-2.
After the Rams expanded their lead three at 5-2 with a two-out RBI single, the Red Foxes responded with one final rally. Koltz led off the inning with a screaming double to the left-center field gap. Zahka advanced Koltz to third base with a single to right field before Klemmer drove in Marist’s final run with an RBI groundout. This marked one of the most successful seasons ever for the Marist softball team and hopefully will foreshadow great things to come.