Behind HRs from Taylor Zavadsky '10 & Sam Epstein '12, Cards Roll to NESCAC Crown, 10-1 vs. Bowdoin

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Needing one win on the final day (Sun., May 9) of the NESCAC Championship at Williams, Wesleyan used an eight-run outburst to break a 0-0 tie in the bottom of the 3rd and went on for a 10-1 victory in five innings over Bowdoin in the deciding game. The win gave softball its first-ever NESCAC crown after a pair of runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009. Wesleyan earns the NESCAC's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III Championship. Wesleyan takes on Kean (NJ) in a first-round game at R.I.C., Fri., May 14.

Pitchers Meaghan Dendy '10 (#7, photo middle left), who also hit .692 during the tournament and was named NESCAC Player of the Week, and Dana Levy '12 (#10, photo lower right) alternated innings as they did in the victory vs. Middlebury that clinched a NESCAC tournament berth, and had a combined no-hitter going through three innings of the title game. Wesleyan then put the game away with eight hits and eight runs in its half of the 3rd. Dendy, who doubled, scored the opening run on an infield error and Talia Bernstein '11 followed with an RBI single. It quickly became 6-0 when Taylor Zavadsky '10 (#3, photo middle right) unloaded a blast to left for a grand slam. Tori Redding '13 closed out the frame with a two-run single.

When Sam Epstein '12 (#11, photo lower left) sent a shot over the fence just inside the foul pole in the 4th, it gave Wesleyan a 10-run cushion and broke a five-way tie for most homers in a season. It was her school-record sixth this year. Bowdoin did get a run in the 5th but with Dendy and Levy combining for a three-hitter, it didn't prevent the contest from ending after five innings under the mercy rule. The nine-run differential tied the NESCAC record for largest margin of victory in a softball championship game.

Wesleyan was denied an earlier chance at the title when the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead into the 6th inning of the first game Sunday. Bowdoin scored four runs to grab a 5-2 lead and held on though the Cardinals got the tying run to the plate in the 7th. Wesleyan scored both its runs on an error. Bowdoin had a hit in every inning but the 7th as Dendy worked out of constant danger over the opening five stanzas.

Wesleyan has established numerous individual and team records thus far, upon which it will be adding in the NCAAs. As a team, the 2010 Cardinals have collected more wins (23), hits (376), runs (263), RBI (220), doubles (66) and homers (21) than any previous squad. Individually, Dendy set the mark for seasonal RBI (34), career hits (185) and career doubles (30) while she and Bernstein share the seasonal doubles mark (11) and Epstein has the home run figure (6). On the mound, Dendy has improved her career-record wins to 39.

The NCAA regional at R.I.C. features six teams - #1 TCNJ (a team Wesleyan defeated in Florida), #2 Moravian, #3 Kean, #4 Wesleyan, #5 Neumann and #6 Baruch. The winner of the regional advances to the NCAA Division III World Series at Wisconsin-Eau Claire.