Head coach Ken LeGrice is now the all-time winningest softball coach in program history, earning his 132nd career victory today.
Ruonavaara pitches a no-hitter in Stonehill's 1-0 win in game two.
CLERMONT, Fla. (March 12, 2016) – Head softball coach Ken LeGrice became the winningest coach in program history today, as the softball team split a doubleheader against Molloy College at the Dot Richardson Spring Games in Clermont, Florida. Stonehill fell to Molloy in the opener, 11-3, before posting a 1-0 shutout win behind senior Megan Ruonavaara's (Rocky Hill, Connecticut/Rocky Hill) no-hitter in game two.
With today's win, LeGrice moves past Stonehill Hall of Famer Dr. Fred Petti, with his 132nd career victory at the helm of the Stonehill softball program. LeGrice, now in his seventh season, has guided the Skyhawks to the NE-10 Tournament four times, including last year when they reached the conference semifinals.
Molloy 11, Stonehill 3
Stonehill was overpowered in game one against Molloy's offense in an 11-3 six-inning mercy rule loss. Junior Taylor Lester (East Northport, New York/St. Anthony's) and senior Lauren Esposito (Middlefield, Connecticut/Coginchaug) led the Skyhawks offensively as they both recorded two hits with a run. Junior Michelle Carbone (Deer Park, New York/St. Anthony's) finished 1-for-3 with a RBI and run, while Ruonavaara went 2-for-3.
Senior Sarah Ropiak (Acton, Massachusetts/Acton-Boxborough) got the start and took the loss for the Skyhawks, while senior Tracey Balinskas (Edison, New Jersey) pitched a complete game for Molloy, going all six innings and giving up three earned runs on ten hits and three walks.
Molloy jumped all over Stonehill in the first, as they put up four runs on the board before the Skyhawks could even record an out. The Lions used two hits, two walks, a hits batter and a wild pitch to plate the four runs in the first. After Molloy scored another run in the second inning, Stonehill rallied to score three in the third. Esposito started the two out rally, singling up the middle to center field. Lester followed up with a single of her own and Carbone knocked them both in with the third consecutive base hit, Carbone also scored on the play as the left fielder mishandled the ball. The Skyhawks were poised to add more runs to their total as Ruonavaara, junior Jacklyn Oleksak (Massapequa, New York/Plainedge) and senior Megan Staudle (New Windsor, New York/Cornwall Central) all singled consecutively to load the bases, but Balinskas worked out of the jam and coaxed a lineout to end the inning.
Molloy started to pull away in the fourth, scoring five runs to push the lead to 10-3. The Lions knocked around the Skyhawk pitching, tallying seven more hits in the inning. Molloy put the game away in the sixth inning, scoring their 11th run and invoking the eight run mercy rule after leading by eight or more runs after the sixth inning.
Stonehill 1, Molloy 0
Stonehill quieted the Lions bats in game two, as Ruonavaara pitched a no hitter, going all seven innings while walking one and striking out three. It was a dominating performance by the Rocky Hill, Connecticut native as she was only responsible for one baserunner all game, a walk in the top of the fifth. Junior Chelsea Hawks (Wading River, New York) threw a complete game for the Lions, giving up one run and four hits over six innings.
Carbone was the offensive spark plug for the Skyhawks, as she went a perfect 2-for-2 with the game winning RBI in a game where hits were hard to come by. Esposito recorded a single and a run, while Staudle registered the only other hit in the game.
Stonehill scored what proved to be the game winning run in the bottom of the first inning, when Esposito reached base on a bunt single and Lester moved her over to second on a sacrifice bunt. Carbone then stepped to the plate and laced a RBI double to center field to score Esposito and give the Sklyhawks a 1-0 lead.
From there on it was a pitcher's duel as both teams struggled to find any success at the plate. Stonehill's best chance to add on to their lead came in the third, when Esposito reached on an error and Lester moved her to second on a sacrifice bunt. Carbone then walked to put two runners on with two outs, but the Skyhawks could make nothing of it. Molloy was only able to string together two base runners for the rest of the game as Ruonavaara was on top of her game.
Stonehill (4-8, 0-0 NE-10) is scheduled to open both its home and conference slates on Wednesday against Assumption College, before hitting the road on Friday for two games at the College of Saint Rose.