West Hartford, Conn. -- The UMBC Softball team is going dancing for the first time since 2002 after completing an improbable undefeated run through the America East Tournament with a 4-0 victory over No.3 Stony Brook on Saturday afternoon.
The fourth-seeded Retrievers, who didn't clinch a spot in the six-team tournament until the final weeknd of the season, outscored opponents 17-2 over four games to win the title. It is the team's first ever America East championship.
Freshman Courtney Coppersmith (York, Pa.) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after pitching her fourth consecutive complete-game victory. Coppersmith, the first player ever to win both America East Rookie and Pitcher of the Year, struck out 10, walked one and allowed just three hits in seven shutout innings. For the tournament, the lefty went 4-0 while allowing just two runs in 28 innings pitched, a 0.50 ERA, on only eight hits with 33 strikeouts.
UMBC (30-22, 7-11 AE) took the lead early after All-Championship Team member Julia Keffler (Huntingtown, Md.) beat out an infield single to leadoff the game. Maddie Daigneau (New River, Ariz.) then hit a comebacker to the pitcher, who then threw the ball into centerfield attepmting to start a double play and allowing Keffler to reach third. After a strikeout, All-Championship Team member Sierra Pierce (Youngstown, Ohio) got an RBI groundout to put the Retrievers up 1-0.
Stony Brook (32-19, 11-7) would get a leadoff single, followed by a walk to start the bottom of the first, but Coppersmith would get a couple fly balls and a strikeout to end the only real threat of the game from the Seawolves.
Keffler would again kick-start a Retriever rally when she started the top of the third with a double and then scored on a throwing error on a Coppersmith grounder. Pierce then singled to put runners on the corners with one out and Logan Hawker (Mechanicsville, Va.) drove in Coppersmith with an RBI groundout to second. Keffler would then get a two-out RBI triple in the fourth to score Imani Dawson (Hanover, Md.) and make it 4-0.
All-Conference First Team outfielder Katelyn Corr hit a one-out single in the bottom of the sixth, but Coppersmith induced a double-play off the bat of America East Player of the Year Melissa Rahrich. Daigneau ranged up the middle on the play, tossed the ball to All-Championship Team member Kaly Winslow (Leesburg, Va.) at second who then threw to Valerie Hammett (Mechanicsville, Md.) to complete the double play.
Coppersmith worked a perfect bottom of the seventh, punctuated by a strikeout, to set off a wild celebration from the Retrievers, who were the picked to finish last in the preseason poll.
UMBC will find out where it will play in the NCAA Regionals when the selection show airs Sunday night at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.