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Friday, May 11, 2012

Fairfield Advances To Championship Saturday With Marathon Win Over Iona

Kim Kurata drove home the winner in the 15th inning

Fairfield 2
Iona 1 (15)

The Fairfield Stags outlasted the Iona Gaels in a tense 15 inning winner's bracket game Friday at the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Wow.

Fairfield and Iona just went toe-to-toe in a grueling extra innings game for the right to assume the driver's seat on Saturday.

All the pitchers were great (there were two for each team). Iona was one out away from a perfect game win...but ended up losing. Becca Trott started for Fairfield, was removed for a couple innings then came back in cold in the sixth inning. Two keys plays happened. The Gaels' Jodi Petersen singled with one out, then found herself in a pickle between first and second. After many throws she made it safely to second base, only to inexplicably walk off the bag. She was tagged and then called out. The mental error would cost Iona dearly, as the very next batter, Allison Hand, drove a pitch over the right field fence for a 1-0 lead that should have been 2-0.

On the other side, Alyssa Maiese was pitching a brilliant game for Iona. The game's leadoff batter, Kristen Filicia, drove a long out to the fence. But after that, nothing. It was 15 up, and 15 down for Alyssa, the surprise late starter for the Gaels. But for some reason, Coach Roni Rivera pulled her after the fifth. Sarah Jackson came in, and retired her first five batters. But with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, the Stags' Lauren Liseth crushed a pitch over the center field fence, and the game went to extras. Long extras. Both teams had a few chances, but could not convert. In the top of the 15th inning, Rae Ball, who had struck out her previous five at bats, led off with a single, and got to second base on a wild pitch by Alyssa Maiese, who had re-entered the game after the hit. Then Kimi Kurata came in, and smashed a pitch all the way to the wall for a double, and the winning RBI.

It will go down as a classic MAAC game of all time. Fairfield will next play Saturday, with two chances at the title. Iona must play again later today, and can not lose again.

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