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Blue Devils softball team led NCAA D-III in double plays

Special to The OBSERVER

The Fredonia State softball team had a knack for turning two during the 2019 season.

The Blue Devils’ 23 double plays over 36 games resulted in an average of 0.64 per game, the best average in NCAA Division III. The University of Chicago was second-best with an average of 0.63 (20 double plays in 32 games).

The Blue Devils turned their first double play in the first inning of their first game of the season, March 2 vs. Virginia Wesleyan. They turned their last in the next-to-last game of the season in the SUNYAC Tournament against Cortland.

Eleven of the double plays came in home games, including three in one game April 2 vs. Buffalo State. There were also had multiple double play games April 7 vs. Geneseo (two), April 13 at Plattsburgh (two), April 17 vs. Rochester (two), and May 2 at Cortland (two).

The two double plays against Cortland in the SUNYAC playoff game were not only the final two of the season, but the most unusual. No. 22 of the season was the end result of a successful rundown pulled off by the Blue Devils. No. 23 came one inning later when a Cortland runner left third too soon on a flyout.

Yet the most memorable double play of the year may have come in a regular-season game vs. Cortland on April 18. With a runner on second and one out, second baseman Amber Piniewski leaped and back-handed a liner headed for center. She then flipped to shortstop Karli Murray who stepped on second for a game-ending double play. It resulted in a 2-0 Fredonia State win, the program’s first shutout ever against the perennially strong Red Dragons.

Here is a rundown of each of the 23 double plays, which includes date and site of the game, the opponent, the game situation, the official scoring play (in parentheses), and a play description:

March 2 at Salem, Va. vs. Virginia Wesleyan: Top of 1st, bases loaded, one out — (9-2) Flyout to RF Alyssa Piniewski, throw to to C Eva FitzSimmons to cut down the runner trying to score from third.

March 9 at Clermont, Fla. vs. Simpson: Bottom of 2nd, first and second, no outs – (6-3) SS Karli Murray tags runner between second and third, throws to 1B Nicole Kumro to retire batter-runner.

March 11 at Kissimmee, Fla. vs. Ursinus: Top of 7th, bases loaded, one out – (5UA) Diving stop by 3B Cassie Herman, slaps tag on runner between third & home, touches third to force the runner advancing from second.

March 14 at Kissimmee, Fla. vs. Wisconsin-Superior: Bottom of 4th, first and third, one out – (3UA) Line drive to 1B Kumro, steps on first for second out.

April 2 at home vs. Buffalo State, Game 1: Top of 2nd, runner on first, no outs – (9-3) Lineout to RF Alyssa Piniewski, throw to Kumro at first to double off runner who strayed too far.

April 2 at home vs. Buffalo State, Game 2: Top of 2nd, first and second, one out – (6-3) Grounder to Murray, steps on second, throws to Kumro at first.

April 2 at home vs. Buffalo State, Game 2: Top of 5th, runner on third, one out – (6-5) Lineout to Murray, throw to Herman at third to retire who strayed too far.

April 2 at home vs. Buffalo State, Game 2: Top of 7th, runner on first, one out – (6-4-3) Murray to 2B Amber Piniewski to Kumro.

April 6 at home vs. Brockport, Game 2: Top of 6th, runner on first, one out – (6-4-3) Murray to Amber Piniewski to Kumro.

April 7 at home vs. Geneseo, Game 1: Top of 1st, bases loaded, one out – (2-3-2) FitzSimmons grabs ball near home plate, throws to Kumro at first, takes return throw from Kumro and tags out runner trying to score from third.

April 7 at home vs. Geneseo, Game 1: Top of 2nd, runner on first, one out – (6-4-3) Murray to Amber Piniewski to Kumro.

April 7 at home vs. Geneseo, Game 2: Top of 6th, first and second, one out – (8-4) Flyout to CF Maddy O’Heir, throw to 2B Amber Piniewski to retire runner trying to advance from first.

April 13 at Plattsburgh, Game 1: Bottom of 2nd, runner on first, no outs – (1-6-3) P Katie Yudin to Murray to Kumro.

April 13 at Plattsburgh, Game 1: Bottom of 4th, runner on first, one out – (6-3) Liner to Murray, throw to Kumro at first.

April 14 at Potsdam, Game 1: Bottom of 6th, runner on first, one out – (3UA) Liner to Kumro, who doubles runner off first.

April 14 at Potsdam, Game 2: Bottom of 5th, runner on second, no outs – (8-4) Flyout to O’Heir in center, throw to Amber Piniewski to retire runner who strayed off second.

April 17 at home vs. Rochester, Game 2: Top of 3rd, first and second, no outs – (6-4-3) Murray to Amber Piniewski to Kumro.

April 17 at home vs. Rochester, Game 2: Top of 4th, second and third, one out – (6UA) Liner to Murray, doubled off runner at second.

April 18 at Cortland, Game 1: Bottom of 1st, runner on first, one out – (6-3) Liner to Murray, throw to Kumro at first.

April 18 at Cortland, Game 2: Bottom of 7th, runner on second, one out – (4-6) Leaping back-handed catch by Amber Piniewski, flip to Murray to retire runner who strayed off second.

April 27 at home vs. New Paltz, Game 2: Top of 4th, first and third, one out – (6-4-3) SS Rhianna Paoletti to Amber Piniewski to Kumro.

May 2 at Cortland, SUNYAC Tournament: Bottom of 3rd, second and third, one out – (6-2-5-4-6) Grounder to Murray at short, throw to FitzSimmons to start a rundown, throw to Herman at third who tags runner for the first out, throw to Amber Piniewski to catch the trail runner napping, throw to and tag out by Murray to complete the play.

May 2 at Cortland, SUNYAC Tournament: Bottom of 4th, bases loaded, one out – (7-5) Flyout to LF Jules Vassallo, runner from third tags and appear to score but is called out on appeal for leaving too early, Herman recording the putout at third base.

Total putouts (46): Kumro 16, Murray 10, Amber Piniewski 8, Herman 5, Alyssa Piniewski 2, FitzSimmons 2, O’Heir 2, Vassallo 1.

Total assists (29): Murray 11, Amber Piniewski 7, Alyssa Piniewski 2, FitzSimmons 2, O’Heir 2, Kumro 1, Yudin 1, Paoletti 1, Herman 1, Vassallo 1.

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