Jamie Fesinstine pitched every single inning as the Susquehanna University Softball team came all the way back after losing its first game of the tournament to win four consecutive games including two against No. 11 ranked Moravian College to win the 2017 Landmark Conference Tournament and earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Susquehanna (29-14) won four straight games including three Sunday with 4-2 victories over Catholic and Moravian and a 5-3 win in the second matchup against Moravian to win the title. Fesinstine was named the Tournament MVP with her gutsy performance in the circle for the River Hawks.
Susquehanna earns the bid to the NCAA Tournament and will find out at 1 p.m. Monday where they will play in the NCAA Regional round that starts next weekend.
After an injury sidelined Susquehanna starter Alexa Gonzalez prior to the start of the tournament, the starter duties fell square on the shoulders of Fesinstine and she responded by rebounding from the opening loss to Catholic to come back and lead the River Hawks past Juniata Saturday night, past Catholic Sunday morning and then past nationally ranked Moravian twice in a row Sunday afternoon.
For the tournament, Fesinstine threw 35 consecutive innings and 581 total pitches for the River Hawks.
In the championship game victory over Moravian, the Greyhounds jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a pair of run in the first inning and the River Hawks waited until the fourth inning to score and take the lead with a four-run inning.
With one out Jackie Gore walked to start the rally. Lauren Creamer reached on a fielder's choice and Gore slid into second base safely after a throwing error to put runners on first and second and Morgan Derrick entered as a pinch runner for Creamer.
Kasey Bost hit a long fly ball down the right field line that advanced the runners into scoring position. With two outs, Leigh Ann Greenwald singled to center to score Gore and Kelly Miller followed with a single up the middle to score Derrick with the tying run.
Jill Ahrens then ripped a double to right center to score two more runs and give Susquehanna a 4-2 lead.
In the fifth, Creamer hit a two-out single to center that scored Emilie Boman from second who had doubled to start the inning. That run gave the River Hawks a 5-2 edge.
In the seventh inning, Moravian started the inning with a solo home run to close the gap to 5-3 and then put two runners on with two outs bringing up Janae
Matos who was voted the Landmark Conference Player of the Year earlier in the week with a chance to win the game.
Fesinstine, who had intentionally walked Matos three times earlier in the day, battled to a two ball, two strike count before Matos lifted a long fly ball to Right center and Bost made the catch to end the game and seal the championship for the River Hawks.