MEDFORD - By virtue of winning their fourth consecutive NESCAC East Division pennant and 18th overall, the Tufts University softball team will host the 2022 conference championship tournament this weekend (May 6-8) at Spicer Field.
The top four teams in each division have qualified for the NESCAC Softball Championship. The single elimination tournament will feature seven games Friday through Sunday, with the champion receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.
Head coach Lauren Ebstein's Jumbos are hosting the NESCAC Championship for the ninth time and will be challenging for their 13th league title. Their current total of 12 NESCAC trophies is twice as many as the next-best of six won by Williams College. Middlebury and Wesleyan are the only other teams that have won conference crowns (one apiece).
The Jumbos enter the weekend at 30-9 overall and went 11-1 in the NESCAC East. They have the top pitching staff in the league with a 1.32 earned run average and are scoring at a 5.3 runs per game clip. The East #1 seed, Tufts will play in the first game of the tournament on Friday against West #4 Wesleyan University (13-18, 4-8) at 2:30 pm. The Cardinals score 4.3 runs per game and have a 4.06 staff era.
Friday's second game will pit West pennant winner and #1 seed Amherst (21-7, 9-3) against East #4 Bowdoin (14-17, 3-9). The Mammoths have a 5.6 runs per game average and a 2.44 era (second in the league), while Bowdoin scores a NESCAC-best 6.7 runs per game with a 3.72 era.
Day two on Saturday starts early with West #2 Middlebury (19-9, 8-4) playing East #3 Colby (19-14, 7-5) at 9:30 am. The Panthers' offense generates runs at 6.5 per game and has a 2.94 era in the circle. Colby's runs per game average is 5.9 and their era is 2.89. The last quarterfinal game is between the East #2 Trinity (18-13, 8-4) and West #3 Williams (23-13, 7-5). The Bantams have scored 5.3 runs per game with a 3.41 era and Williams is at 5.9 runs per game and a 3.89 era.
The quarterfinal winners will play the final two games on Saturday in the semifinals with the winners meeting in the championship game on Sunday at 10 am.
Among the top offensive players in the league who will be at Spicer this weekend include batting average, slugging, on-base percentage, home runs and rbis leader Noelle Ruschil from Middlebury, runs scored leader Michelle Adelman from Tufts, hits leader Josie Steinberg of the Jumbos, doubles leader Chloe Wilcox from Colby, triples leader Lilly Armstrong of Bowdoin and stolen bases leader Taylor Mikolajcz of Trinity. For pitchers, era leader Sophia DiCocco from Tufts, batting average against leader Abby Orso from Colby and strikeouts leader Sky Johnson from Tufts will be in action. DiCocco and Johnson are tied for wins atop the conference.
Live webcasts of all seven games will be available at https://www.nsnsports.net/conferences/nescac/.