Saturday, May 12, 2012
ONE LAST TIME FOR SARAH; GAELS THREEPEAT!
Sarah Jackson ends her MAAC career by bringing home a third MAAC title to Iona as she shuts down the Fairfield Stags 2-0 at the MAAC Championship in Poughkeepsie, NY Saturday.
What more can be said?
How about maybe Sarah Jackson is the greatest athlete in ALL of Iona history, not just softball? I am not that familiar with Iona athletics to answer this question. But in her career at Iona, she lifted the Gael softball program from obscurity to three consecutive championships, today pitching a masterpiece against the Fairfield Stags. After her teammates scratched out two runs in the first inning, this game was never in doubt. Sarah scattered four hits, and struck out eight Stags; but Fairfield never had much of a threat. Sarah simply would not give them life. Sarah has struggled this season with aches and pains, but she proved again that she's the toughest player in the conference with her lights out performance. She will go down as one of the top pitchers in MAAC history; a player you had to watch play to truly appreciate.
To even get to this game, Iona had to win the first one of the day against Fairfield, and they did so with a seventh inning rally, and with a little help from the Stags. The game was tied 1-1 entering the seventh inning, when Fairfield reliever Rae Ball hit leadoff hitter Eileen McCann and subsequently walked Alyssa Maiese. Becca Trott then re-entered the game, giving up a sacrifice bunt by Deanne Algeo that moved the runners up a base. A two out wild pitch then brought home the winning run. Chelsea Sheehan and Brianna Schauer both had three hits in this game for the Gaels. Alyssa Maiese struck out seven Stags in earning the win and giving her team the chance to win it all. Alyssa had a great tournament in closing out her MAAC career.
With their win today, Iona became only the second team in MAAC history to win three consecutive titles, tying Canisius for that distinction. What's left for the Sarah Jackson Gaels? At this point, I think they would like to do some damage in the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week. Iona will learn who and where they will play Sunday night.
As for Fairfield, they suffer the disappointment of twice losing doubleheaders to Iona on the last day of the tournament. A bitter pill to swallow; they did have a chance to win it all in game one. On a positive note, they will likely be the favorites headed into 2013. But that is little solace at the moment, I am sure.