|Eileen knows championships|
In the winner's bracket game at the MAAC Championship in Fairfield Friday, the Iona Gaels defeated the defending champion Marist Red Foxes 6-2, and advanced to Championship Saturday. Marist was not eliminated with their loss.
If the rest of the MAAC thought they were rid of the Iona Gaels' endless championships, they may be in for a rude awakening very soon. On Saturday, the former threepeaters dominated the defending champs in a convincing win that vaulted them into the driver's seat and a spot in the Championship game.
Marist has championship experience it's true, but 2014 Player of the Year Eileen McCann has three times as much. Eileen has been playing out of her mind in this tournament, but more than that you know that her teammates are feeding off her three ring knowledge of how to get it done. Katie Jansson has two rings; Allie Hand, Bri Schauer and Carly Argyle have a ring also, but it's Eileen McCann who embodies the Iona dynasty image. And she's hitting .714 in the tournament.
The Gaels nearly blew open this game in the bottom of the first inning, loading the bases with their first three batters. But Marist starter Paige Lewis did a good job getting out of that jam. Iona came right back and put up four runs in the second. After the Gaels again loaded the bases, with Bri Schauer's single and an error that put Carly Argyle aboard, and a walk to Kelsey Long, Eileen McCann stepped to the plate and smashed a pitch to deep right field that scored three runs. She scored herself when Kristen Turner doubled her home.
In the meantime, Carly Argyle was pitching a masterful game, befuddling the Red Foxes time and time again. It wasn't until the top of the sixth inning that Marist finally got their offense going when Becca Freeman singled home a pair of runs to halve the lead and give them life. But Iona responded in the bottom of the same inning with two hits and two runs scored on an error and wild pitch. Jordan Courage closed out the game for Iona in the 7th inning for the 6-2 win.
Iona advances to and waits for their opponent in the Championship round, where they will have two chances to win one game. They will be trying for their fourth title in five seasons. But don't count Marist out, they always seem to rebound quickly after a loss. They will play an elimination game Saturday.