FLUSHING, N.Y. – The Queens College softball team erased a six-run deficit and rallied for an 8-7 victory in extra innings in game one of a doubleheader against the Chargers of Dominican College on Saturday. The Knights also went to extra innings in game two, falling just short in a 4-1 setback. The Knights improve to 3-1 on the young season, while the Chargers move to 7-8.
Queens 8, Dominican 7 (F/8)
Highlighted by Chargers' Elontay Collins three run home run in the first inning, the Knights quickly found themselves trailing, 5-0, as junior pitcher ToniMarie Valeriano was put under pressure early on. Senior Kayla Morrissey got one back for the Knights in the bottom of the first with an RBI single to right center to bring home junior Alyssa Neal. Collins the collected her second homer of the day, a solo shot, as the Chargers extended the advantage to 6-1 after four innings.
Trailing 7-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Knights started the comeback rally, as sophomore Gabriella Russo earned a walk before Neal got hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Senior Stevianne Ognibene delivered with an RBI single to score Russo to make it 7-2, and the next batter, Valeriano, loaded the bases with a single to right field.
Morrissey then hammered a two RBI single to left field, as the Knights slowly chipped away at the lead (7-4). Junior Vanessa Juengerkes continued the rally with an RBI single to center field to plate Valeriano before freshman Briana Schippell singled to second base, scoring Morrissey, as a 7-1 deficit quickly became 7-6. Sophomore Maryjane D'Agostino then delivered the tying run in Juengerkes, forcing extra innings with the score knotted a 7-7.
With a new profound energy, the Knights refused to wilt as the Chargers put runners on first and second. On the mound in relief, Juengerkes forced a pop out from Samantha Fitzgerald for the first out. Russo got the second out, as Shannon Truppi was tagged out at home keeping the game tied, and a diving catch by Neal got the third out.
Chargers pitcher Jennifer Paride walked the first batter to force a pitching change to bring in Desiree Joines. Joines walked Neal to put runners on first and second before loading the bases on a single by Ognibene. Two batters later, with the bases filled, Morrissey delivered the game-winning run with a single through the left side for her fourth RBI of the day to complete the comeback win.
Juengerkes pitched five innings in relief to pick up the win, allowing four hits and one run with three strikeouts. Morrissey went for 3-for-5 with four RBI, while Juengerkes (2-for-4) and Schippell (2-for-4) each produced two hits apiece one RBI apiece.
Dominican 4, Queens 1 (F/9)
Ognibene looked to continue the momentum in game two, as she tripled down the right field line to start the Knights off in the first inning. Valeriano brought home Ognibene in the very next at-bat with an RBI ground out to first, giving Queens a 1-0 lead in the opening frame. Collins tied the game for the Chargers in the top of the third, however, with a single through the left side to plate home Samantha Fitzgerald.
Despite the Chargers outhitting the Knights, 15-6, the defense continued to deliver, as the Knights looked determined to sweep the Chargers on the day. In the bottom of the seventh, with two outs, Schippell slapped a double to left center before advancing to third on a passed ball to put the Knights in prime position to win. However, Joines got Russo to pop out to shortstop to extend the game to extra innings for the second time on the day.
In the ninth, Jillian Regan singled up the middle to drive in Taylor Gilligan for the go-ahead run for Dominican before the Chargers added two more insurance runs to make it a 4-1 game heading to the bottom of the ninth. There would no game two heroics for the Knights this time, as Joines got Schippell to fly out to left field to end the game. Juengerkes (2-1) suffered the loss in the circle for the Knights, pitching all nine innings, giving up 15 hits, three earned runs and striking out a season-high eight. Joines (2-5) picked up the win, holding the Knights to six hits and one earned run over nine innings and striking out four.
Ognibene went 2-for-4 in the game, while Valeriano went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
UP NEXT: The Knights continue non-conference action on Monday, March 27, as they travel to Post University for a doubleheader with first pitch set for 2:00 p.m.