Blue Devils Beat Brattleboro, Clinch Playoff Berth

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Some bus rides are just better than others. 

That's what the Drury softball team found out on Thursday, when they came home from Vermont with a 5-3 win over defending state champion Brattleboro. Senior Danielle Cardinal's two-run triple in the top of the fifth inning proved to be the difference for the Blue Devils, who improved to 9-1 with the win and clinched a berth in the Division 2 Western Mass. tournament in the process. 

"The long ride was well worth it, as we overcame a scrappy Brattleboro team," Drury head coach Mary Ann Maroni said. "Although we recorded four errors and they had two, it was a well-played, exciting game typical of the of the type of game we always have with Brattleboro." 

The Devils started things off by scoring one run in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Laryssa LaPointe (2-for-3) opened things up with a double to right field. Junior Katie Hancock then followed with a single before classmate Amanda Ramsdell (2-for-4, one run scored) drove in LaPointe with another base hit. 

The Colonels came back with an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning, but the Drury defense limited the damage by making a nice double play to end the inning. LaPointe fielded a grounder at shortstop and threw out the runner at first base. Blue Devils' first baseman Arianna Hilchey then fired the ball over to Hancock, who tagged out a runner trying to advance from second to third. 

Drury then took control of the game by scoring three times in the top of the fifth inning. After an out, the visitors loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Ramsdell, Lyndsey DeGrenier and Cat Record. Sophomore Allison Cellana then walked to force in a run, setting the stage for Cardinal's two-run blast to deep center field. A base-running error resulted in a third runner being thrown out at the plate, but the Blue Devils got another run in the top of the sixth and survived two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning to pull out the win. 

Record retired the side in order in the seventh to pick up her ninth victory of the season. She allowed two earned runs on five hits, striking out six batters and walking two. Kayla Wood went the distance for Brattleboro, allowing four earned runs on 11 hits to take the loss. 

Drury next hosts Pittsfield in a key North Division matchup at 4:15 p.m. on Monday. The winner of that game will take sole possession of first place in the division. 

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