Valorie Velasco, left, went 9-for-15 (.600) in the four games Friday, with eight RBIs, including six against Bay Path to come only two shy of the single-game program record. Gabrielle Castellini, right, went 7-for-15 in the four games and tied a single-game program record with two triples in the suspended-game win over Wisconsin-Stout
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (March 17, 2017) – A cold, rainy week at the FastPitch Dreams Spring Classic in South Carolina forced numerous cancellations and many schedule changes.
It also forced the Rutgers University-Camden softball team to play the role of marathon runners on their last day at the event, competing in four games from the morning through the late afternoon. The long day was worth it for the Scarlet Raptors, who posted three wins in four games, including the completion of a suspended game from Monday's downpour.
Rutgers-Camden picked up an unexpected opponent in a 9:30 a.m. game and defeated Bay Path University (Longmeadow, Mass.), 13-5. During the noon hour, the Scarlet Raptors completed Monday's game against Wisconsin-Stout, which was suspended by rain in the bottom of the fourth inning with Rutgers-Camden ahead, 8-1. Nothing changed on Friday as that 8-1 score held up for a Raptor win.
In the regularly-schedule game against Wisconsin-Stout that followed, the Blue Devils shut down the Scarlet Raptors for a 1-0 victory. Rutgers-Camden bounced back strong in its fourth contest of the day as it defeated Franciscan University (Steubenville, Ohio) by a 4-2 score.
The Scarlet Raptors hit .333 (41-for-123) as a team during the day, with freshman designated player Valorie Velasco (Cherry Hill, NJ/Cherry Hill East) leading all regulars with a .600 batting average (9-for-15, four runs and eight RBIs. Senior centerfielder Megan Goodspeed (Florence, NJ/Florence) went 7-for-13 (.538) in the four games, while scoring four runs and driving in one. She also was a perfect 3-for-3 on stolen base attempts.
Junior leftfielder Gabrielle Castellini (Millville, NJ/Wildwood Catholic) also started all four contests, going 7-for-15 (.467) with three runs and four RBIs, while sophomore rightfielder Allie Jenkins (Delanco, NJ/Riverside) went 5-for-14 (.357) with five runs and one RBI. Freshman outfielder Caitlyn Kliniewski (Deptford, NJ/Deptford), meanwhile, appeared in three of the games and went 2-for-2 with one run scored.
On the mound, sophomore Kendra Pfister (Dacula, GA/Dacula) picked up two victories, allowing only one earned run over 15 innings. Sophomore Dannie Dinsfriend (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) earned a win and helped her own cause by going 2-for-4 with one RBI at the plate.
Sophomore lefty Jessica Thompson (Pedricktown, NJ/Penns Grove) tossed perhaps the best game of the day, but was a victim of one unearned run in the Raptors' 1-0 loss.
Rutgers-Camden posted a 5-5 record on its trip to South Carolina. The Scarlet Raptors, 7-7 overall, are scheduled to open their home season Thursday with a 3 p.m. doubleheader against Penn State-Abington.
Rutgers-Camden 13, Bay Path 5
In a Friday morning game that was added to the schedule late Thursday night, Rutgers-Camden ripped 17 hits and was sparked by the huge performance of Velasco, who went 3-for-5 and drove home six runs. Her six RBIs were just two shy of the program's single-game record, set against Centenary College in 1999 by Stephanie Ortona.
Velasco had a two-run single in the Raptors' three-run first inning, collected an RBI ground out in a three-run third and singled home the lone run of the fourth inning. She capped her day with a two-run double in the Scarlet Raptors' three-run seventh inning.
Velasco wasn't just a one-woman wrecking crew, as freshman catcher Ashley Croge (Somerdale, NJ/Sterling) went 2-for-2 with one run and four RBIs, including a three-run pinch-hit double in the fifth inning. She singled home a run in the seventh.
Goodspeed went 4-for-4 at the top of the batting order, adding a walk and collecting three runs scored and one RBI. Castellini went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI, while Dinsfriend had two singles while evening her pitching record at 1-1. She worked six innings, scattering nine hits and three walks, while striking out five. She allowed five runs, four earned, before Pfister pitched a perfect seventh inning.
Rutgers-Camden 8, Wisconsin-Stout 1
When the Scarlet Raptors and Blue Devils met on Monday in a pouring rain, they were able to squeeze in 3-1/2 innings before play was suspended and they scheduled the completion of the game Friday. By that time, the Scarlet Raptors had carved out an 8-1 lead for Pfister, who finished off her win with four more shutout innings Friday. She allowed eight hits over her seven-inning, multi-day marathon, while walking four, striking out seven and allowing the one earned run.
Rutgers-Camden gave her all the runs she needed with a four-run first inning Monday. Velasco singled home the first run and Castellini ripped a two-run triple, later scoring on a ground out by Thompson.
The Raptors added a single run in the third on a Castellini single, an error and a RBI ground out by freshman shortstop Rachel Edwards (Washington Township, NJ/Washington Township). After Stout scored its lone run in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by losing pitcher Beth Wood (Mineral Point, WI/Mineral Point), the Raptors added their final three runs in the fourth inning. Velasco had an RBI double, Castellini stroked another triple for an RBI and freshman Paige Neilson (Atco, NJ/Hammonton), inserted as a pinch-runner when Thompson walked, eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Castellini went 4-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs in the game. She had two triples, tying a program single-game record accomplished five times previously. The last two-triple game was by Kathleen Dreitlein against St. Thomas in the opening game of a March 15, 2005 doubleheader.
Velasco went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, while junior third baseman Gabby Pfeiffer (Mount Holly, NJ/Rancocas Valley) went 2-for-5 with one run scored.
Wisconsin-Stout 1, Rutgers-Camden 0
Jessica Thompson...No earned runs and 2-for-3 at plate in 1-0 loss
Blue Devils pitcher Wood got her revenge in the regularly-scheduled game by tossing a five-hit shutout with no walks and four strikeouts. She raised her record to 3-2 and evened Wisconsin-Stout's mark at 5-5.
Thompson (92-4) was the tough-luck losing pitcher, allowing only four hits and three walks, while striking out two. She allowed only an unearned run in the fourth inning on a two-out walk, an infield throwing error and a RBI single by freshman leftfielder Katelyn Schobert (Belmont, WI/Belmont).
Thompson also went 2-for-3 at the plate as the only player in the game with multiple hits.
Rutgers-Camden 4, Franciscan 2
Pfister (4-2) hurled a seven-hitter, walking one, striking out six and allowing only two unearned runs as the Scarlet Raptors completed their marathon run. Rutgers-Camden gave her all the support she needed with three unearned runs in the first inning, aided by three errors by the Lady Barons. Jenkins singled home the first run and eventually scored on an error. A fielder's choice by Thompson plated the final run.
The Raptors added their final run in the third inning when Velasco singled and scored on a double by Thompson.
Franciscan scored single runs in the final two innings, both aided by Raptor errors.
Velasco went 3-for-3 with two runs in the game, while Kliniewski was 2-for-2 as the Raptors' right fielder. Thompson knocked home two of the runs.