Longmeadow, MA—After more than 20 years of history, Bay Path University’s Wildcats softball team claimed its first-ever NECC (New England Collegiate Conference) championship.
The Wildcats were led to triumph by sophomore pitcher Felicia Gaillardetz ’20 (Londonderry, New Hampshire). Gaillardetz gave up just three runs to earn a pair of victories to lead the number three seed Bay Path University softball team to a sweep over second-seeded Becker College at Regis Stadium in Weston, Massachusetts. The Wildcats won the day’s first game, 2-1, in eight innings to force a final game, and earned a 3-2 victory to win the NECC crown. This victory was the team’s fourth straight and seventh of its last eight games, underscoring the team’s strong performance this season, and ensuring them an automatic bid to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Championship Tournament. This weekend, the team will participate in the NCAA Division III Regional Softball Tournament at Ithaca College (New York).
“The Wildcats have improved tremendously this year. In the past, we lost games we should’ve won. But now, we’re winning games we would’ve lost before. We’re so proud that this year, we beat every other team in the conference,” Steve Smith, Director of Athletics, Head Softball Coach, said. “Our goal now is to travel to Ithaca and play the best we can there. Whatever happens, happens. We’re going to have a great time and we know what we’ve accomplished, no matter what.”
Smith was recently named Coach of the Year. Members of the softball team have received national recognition as well. Sophomore Felicia Gaillardetz was selected as the 2018 NECC Pitcher of the Year, and for her performance in the Championship playoffs, Gaillardetz was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. In March, she was recognized as “Pitcher of the Week.” Team Captain Lauren Vallee ’18 (Bristol, Connecticut) was the NCAA D-III Offensive Player of the Year (Fastpitch News (FPN)) last year, selected out of more than 5,000 D-III softball players across the entire nation. Vallee recently celebrated her 200th hit.
Of the 11 players on the team, 10 are from New England states, and five hail from Massachusetts, making this first-time victory one not just for Bay Path University and the Wildcats softball team, but for the region.
The Wildcats departed Longmeadow on Thursday morning for the NCAA Championship Tournament with an escort from the Longmeadow Police after receiving congratulatory remarks from Bay Path University President Carol A. Leary and Chair of the Board of Trustees Patricia J. Pierce. Students, faculty and staff attended the celebration to wish the athletes well and show their support.
To learn more about athletics at Bay Path, visit athletics.baypath.edu.
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About Bay Path University
Bay Path University was founded in 1897. With locations in Longmeadow (main), East Longmeadow (Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center), Sturbridge (MA), and Concord (MA), Bay Path’s innovative program offerings include traditional undergraduate degrees for women, The American Women's College on-ground and online, the first all-women, all-online accredited bachelor’s degree programs in the country; over 25 graduate programs for women and men; and Strategic Alliances, offering professional development courses for individuals and organizations. Bay Path’s goal is to give students confidence in the fundamentals of their chosen field, the curiosity to question the ordinary, the leadership to show initiative, and the desire to make a difference.