Brazeau delivers game-winning hit in season finale
Warwick native and Bay View product Christina Brazeau had a dream ending to her softball career, as she was the hero in Saint Michael’s 5-4 victory over Bentley in the Purple Knights’ season finale on April 29.
With the game tied at three apiece in the bottom of the sixth, Brazeau drilled a Hannah King delivery to left field, plating Chandler Wilder and Aleksandra Apkarian to put Saint Michael’s ahead for good.
The victory kept the Purple Knights in the frame for a berth in the Northeast-10 Conference tournament, contingent on Bentley recording a sweep in its doubleheader with Southern New Hampshire the following day.
Unfortunately for Brazeau and Saint Michael’s, the Falcons were unable to hold up their end of the bargain, taking the opener from the Penmen 1-0 before falling to an 8-4 defeat in the back end of the twinbill.
Despite being unable to qualify for the conference tournament for the first time since 2005, the Purple Knights showed marked improvement compared to recent years, winning more games than the previous four seasons combined.
After starting the campaign with 10 straight losses, the Saint Michael’s nine finished strongly, reeling off wins in six of their last eight contests to wrap up 2017 with a 12-20 mark.
Brazeau was a key part of the turnaround, going 3-for-7 in an April 26 doubleheader versus Franklin Pierce, driving home a run and scoring three herself in the Purple Knights’ sweep of the Ravens.
Pilgrim graduate Haley McCusker’s junior season on the lacrosse field for Coker is now in the books, and while the Cobras were eliminated in the semifinals of the South Atlantic Conference tournament by Wingate, the former Patriot led the way during her team’s postseason run.
She scored six goals in both tournament games that Coker was involved in, including the game-winner in the team’s quarterfinal tilt with Tusculum on April 25.
After a 11-4 run by the visiting Pioneers that tied the game at 17, McCusker responded by scoring unassisted with exactly three minutes left on the clock.
Three days later, she tallied five goals in the opening half to help Coker race out to a 10-6 advantage at the break against Wingate, but the Bulldogs were able to overturn the deficit and advance to the final with a 15-14 triumph.
What made the defeat particularly galling for the Cobras was that Wingate scored the last four goals of the game in a 98-second span deep in the second half to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
For her efforts, McCusker earned a place on the SAC’s All-Tournament Team, adding to her Second-Team All-Conference nod that she picked up at the end of the regular season.
She finishes the 2017 season with a conference-leading 79 goals, 38 ground balls, 13 draw controls and 23 caused turnovers.
Ex-Patriot Melanie Brunelle finished in 11th in the triple jump with an effort of 11.27 meters while representing Rhode Island College at the New England Open Championships last weekend.
Hendricken alum Andrew Ciacciarelli recently concluded his freshman season on the American International College baseball team, hitting .224 and driving home 14 in 31 starts for the Yellow Jackets.