After defeating Montclair State University 8-0 in the first round of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) softball championship tournament, the Profs were back at home to take on Ramapo College in round two.
Rowan defeated the Roadrunners 3-0, backed by a huge offensive performance from designated player Cat Thomas, and domination in the circle from ace Emily August.
It was a pitching duel between August and Marissa DiPaolo until the fourth inning when the Profs got the scoring started. After shortstop Payton MacNair worked a walk and second baseman Liz McCaffery singled, Rowan was in the driver’s seat with one out. Catcher Korie Hague singled to right field, and MacNair was thrown out at the plate to keep the game tied.
Thomas then stepped up to the plate with two runners in scoring position and delivered for the Profs with a two-RBI double. She describes what she was expecting at the plate and how she was able to capitalize.
“After the play before [MacNair getting thrown out at home], I just knew that there was going to be runners on second and third, and with two outs I just knew I had to get something through the infield,” Thomas said. “Once she gave me two strikes and I was 2-2, I knew a good pitch was coming, so I was swinging at it.”
With the 2-0 lead, August was able to control the Roadrunners’ bats, holding them hitless through 4.1 innings of work.
Head Coach Kim Wilson describes the resiliency and steadiness that August provides.
“She’s just steady, you don’t see her get flustered whether she gives up a hit or a strikeout, she’s kind of the same demeanor,” Coach Wilson said. “I think that’s a huge positive for her that she’s not too high or too low.”
In the sixth inning, the Profs were able to cause traffic on the bases once again where MacNair ripped a single and right fielder Morgan Zane worked a walk to, once again, bring Thomas to the plate with two outs.
Thomas describes her approach at the plate.
“Today I just went in with a clear head, and I just wanted to see the ball and hit the ball,” Thomas said. “So I was just trying to do the simplest thing and get a base hit up the middle to get the run in.”
Thomas did just that, as she grounded the ball right up the middle to bring home her third RBI of the game, making the game 3-0.
Coach Wilson also adds to the adjustment that Thomas made at the plate.
“I thought she did a great job,” Coach Wilson said. “She made an adjustment the second time she was up, hit a ground ball up the middle that we needed, she didn’t try to do too much. So I thought she did a great job.”
The 3-0 lead was all the run support that August would need, as she continued to deliver on the mound. August finished the day only surrendering two hits, striking out eight, and pitching her 14th complete game. August earned her 18th win (18-4).
“Emily [August], she’s just amazing,” Thomas said. “I can’t even put words to it because she’s just the best. She’s the best teammate, the best leader and, with her on the mound, I just know that we’re unstoppable.”
The Profs put up five hits, two from Thomas and one from McCaffery. MacNair and Hague worked three walks in the 3-0 victory.
With the 2-0 record in the NJAC softball championship tournament, the Profs will face off against The College of New Jersey tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Kean University. The winner will advance to the finals while the loser will be in the losers bracket and will have to win two to make it to the championship.
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