WEST HAVEN >> Astin Donovan, one of Mercy’s six seniors, played an integral role in leading the Tigers to back-to-back Southern Connecticut Conference tournament championships.
Donovan had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run in fourth-seeded Mercy’s 4-0 victory over No. 3 Amity Saturday at Biondi Field. Donovan was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Donovan said. “This was our goal, obviously, from Day One. We worked our butts off every single day to make it to here, and we were going to take the opportunity when we got here.”
It is the sixth SCC title for the Tigers (19-5), who reached the championship game for the third time in four seasons.
“It just shows that we’re a solid softball program,” Mercy coach Marji Sklar-Levine said. “We’ve gone through some adversity, but, as you can see, we keep bouncing back. We have some really talented kids. The program is strong. We’ve been strong for a couple of years, but we keep getting stronger and stronger.”
Like in their semifinal victory over Hand, the Tigers scored in the first inning and never relented. It was Donovan, again, who set the tone for Mercy. She led off the game with an infield single and stole second and third. Steph Mangiameli then reached on an error and took second on defensive indifference. Both runners then scored on a wild pitch to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
“Donovan’s been the spark plug,” Sklar-Levine said. “She gets on and motivates the other kids. Everything’s starting to fall into place for us. We are playing really good offensive and defensive softball.”
Mercy took advantage of three Amity (18-5) errors, and the Tigers also turned two double plays.
“That’s exactly what the story was today,” Amity coach Loren Purcell said. “(We) just didn’t come in ready to play as we have all year. This was definitely not our day. I was absolutely disgusted with the first inning, and I think the girls were too. It just wasn’t a very good day for us.”
The Tigers turned double plays in the fifth and sixth innings. Both times an Amity batter hit a line drive in the infield and a Spartans runner was picked off at first base.
“We did hit the ball hard, I can’t complain about that,” Purcell said. “But it was mental errors. You can’t have these mental errors. You can’t win a championship like that.”
In the fifth, Tiffany Mangiameli singled with one out. Donovan then tripled her home, but kept right on running after the relay throw from the outfield was dropped to increase Mercy’s lead to 4-0.
Maddy DeRita, Steph Dean and winning pitcher Brianna Sawicki also had hits for the Tigers.
Sawicki allowed seven hits and struck out just one, but kept Amity off-balance with her array of off-speed pitches.
With two on in the bottom of the seventh, Sawicki bobbled a comebacker, but recovered in time to throw to first to end the game.
“She did great,” Sklar-Levine said. “She hits the outside corner, she hits the inside corner; she has her nice off-speeds. She’s pitching great. We couldn’t ask anything more of her.”
MERCY 4, AMITY 0
(at West Haven)
Mercy 200 020 0 — 4 7 0
Amity 000 000 0 — 0 7 3
Brianna Sawicki and Steph Dean; Katie Koshes and Janaya Young.
WP: Brianna Sawicki. LP: Katie Koshes. 3B: (ME) Astin Donovan. hr: Astin Donovan (ME)
Team records: Mercy 19-4; Amity 18-5.
Updates every minute – View full tournament