For the first time in MSJ Softball history, the Lions are Regional Champions, defeating Babson by a score of 5-3 in a winner take all game to advance to the Super Regional.

Mount St. Joseph University softball champions smiling.
GENESEO, N.Y. - On Sunday, May 15th your Mount St. Joseph University Lions faced off against the #2 seed Babson in the Regional Championship game. The Lions needed just 1 win to cement their name in school history while Babson needed a pair of wins to claim the title. The Lions and Beavers previously faced off in the Semifinal game as the Lions claimed victory receiving a direct bid to the Championship game. Babson was tasked with fighting back to reach the Championship game. The Beavers knocked off Stevens on Saturday night cementing their spot in the Championship game setting up a rematch for the Regional title. 

In game one the Lions got off to a slow start. The Lions surrendered two runs in the opening frame before entering a weather delay. After waiting approximately 1 hour, each squad was ready to battle for the Championship once again. Following the delay Babson continued to build their lead. They added runs in both the 5th and the 6th inning giving themselves a 4-0 cushion. But, the Lions were not out yet. Kelsi Stevenson would get the Lions on the board singling and bringing in a run. Macy Cornelius would follow with a single to right driving in the Lions' 2nd run of the contest. But, the Lions would get caught in a pickle between 3rd and home plate ending the game. Babson took game one setting up a winner take all Championship game. 

The Lions second game of the afternoon began similarly as the first one. Babson struck first in the opening frame pushing across just 1 run to take an early lead. But, the Lions answered right back in the top of the 2nd. Making her first appearance of the tournament was Casey Kemp. Kemp started on the mound for the Lions and led off the 2nd inning with a walk. Kemp would then advance to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt giving the Lions a window to tie the game. Kaci Finchum would then ground out to the third baseman but Kemp would come around to score on an error tying the game at 1 run a piece. 

Kemp would then shut down the Babson offense in the bottom half letting the Lions get back to plate. Ali Lang would get the inning started with a walk and advance to second on a groundout. Stepping to the plate next was Macy Cornelius in a big spot. Cornelius didn't waste any time in the box jumping on a pitch and singling to right field as Ali Lang came around to score giving the Lions a 2-1 lead. But, Babson was not going down without a fight. The Beavers pushed across a run of their own in the bottom of the 3rd tying the game at 2. 

The Lions bats did not go away in the 4th as the Lions continued to add to their total. Casey Kemp continued her dominant game both as a pitcher and hitter leading off the inning with a double to left field. Following the double Kaci Finchum would single to the left side giving the Lions two runners on with just 1 out. Now stepping into the box was catcher Elizabeth Ivers. Ivers jumped on a ball that nearly left the park but instead bounced off the wall for a RBI double. Emily McDonald would then hit a sacrifice fly to right field bringing in another run giving the Lions a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th. 

Babson was held in check in the 4th but were able to trim the lead in the 5th. The Beavers would push across their third run of the contest in the 5th trimming The Mount's lead to just 4-3. But the Lions' offense wanted more. Maddie Kennedy would lead off the inning by reaching on an error and advancing to second. Kaci Finchum would then lay down a sacrifice bunt moving the runner to third. Elizabeth Ivers would groundout but the pitch runner Alyssa Witmer would come around to score giving the Lions a 5-3 lead in the top half of the 6th. 

Casey Kemp worked quickly in the bottom half surrendering just 1 hit and getting the Lions bats back to the plate. The Lions were held in check in the top of the 7th leaving them just 3 outs away from a Regional Championship. The top of the 7th would begin with a popout followed by a pair of Babson singles. With two runners on and just a single out Kemp had to clamp down. Kemp then struck out the next hitter leaving them just 1 out away. Kemp entered her windup and came to the plate. The Beavers would send a ball to third base, Kaci Finchum would field in cleanly, throw to first and history was made. 

For the first time in MSJ Softball history the Lions are Regional Champions! The Lions defeated Babson by a score of 5-3 in a winner take all game to advance to the Super Regional. 

The Lions landed 4 athletes on the All-Tournament team including Casey KempKamryn McCoolKelsi Stevenson and Elizabeth Ivers. Ivers was also awarded the MVP of the tournament! Casey Kemp was dominant in her only appearance in the tournament. Kemp came up huge for the Lions pitching 7 innings allowing just 3 runs, 2 earned, and striking out 7 batters while walking just 1. Kemp was also effective at the plate in the final game finishing 1-2 with a double and a walk while scoring 1 run. 

McCool was also dominant for the Lions all weekend long. McCool finished with a 2-1 record pitching 19 innings while striking out 15 batters. Kelsi Stevenson also shined for the Lions all weekend. Stevenson finished the 5-13 with 1 run scored, 2 RBIs and 1 double. Finally, Elizabeth Ivers drove in the go-ahead for the Lions giving them the lead late. Ivers was named the MVP of the tournament putting together an impressive weekend. Ivers finished 4-11 with 3 RBIs and 2 doubles. 

UP NEXT: Your Mount St. Joseph University softball team will head to the Super Regionals this coming weekend. The Lions will face off against #1 seed Salisbury. Dates and times will be released shortly so be sure to tune into and follow us on Twitter @msj_athletics to receive updates!