Smith leads LIU into NEC softball tourney
Freshman pitcher earns third straight Rookie of the Week
The Sharks are headed to Emmitsburg, Maryland, Thursday to battle for the Northeast Conference softball championship.
But it was freshman pitching sensation Desiree Smith who paved the way for Long Island University.
Smith earned her third consecutive NEC Rookie of the Week award Tuesday after pitching LIU into the tournament with a two-hitter in a 5-1 win over Mount St. Mary’s that thrust the Sharks into the No. 4 seed and a first-round date with top-seeded host St. Francis University.
A native of Simi Valley, California, Smith and her teammates had to wait for Staten Island rival Wagner to drop a doubleheader to Fairleigh Dickinson before the clinch was completed.
“There’s enough stress trying to watch us win for me to worry about someone else trying to win,” Kortmann said after learning the Sharks had advanced to postseason play.
As for Smith, Kortmann knows LIU might be on the outside looking in if the first-year hurler hadn’t gone the distance on Sunday to cap a three-week run of impressive performances.
“For the last three weeks, she’s been doing that for us,” he said. “She stepped up at FDU. She stepped up at Central Connecticut. She just stays cool, calm and collected and does what she does.”
Over her last three appearances, Smith has yielded two earned runs or fewer. Kortmann rode the hot hand against the Mount and Smith delivered by allowing an unearned run over seven strong innings with four strikeouts.
“I was honestly excited that I got called on to pitch today because I know how much it meant for all the seniors to get a win,” Smith said.
Over at St. Francis Brooklyn, the Terriers’ men’s and women’s track teams finished ninth and 10th, respectively, last weekend at the NEC Championships in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Individually, however, SFC took home some hardware on the final day of the competition.
Junior Janee Patterson won the bronze medal in the women’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03:92, also setting a personal best for the Brooklyn native and Bishop Loughlin alum.
Third-year standout Makhi Theosmy grabbed third as well in the 400-meter final with a time of 48.43.
Malachi Aiken and Beyonce Blake both finished in sixth in the men’s and women’s triple jump competitions,
After qualifying for the women’s 200-meter final on Saturday, Armani Dunkley placed seventh overall in the event at 25.44. The freshman also finished fifth in the high hump with a leap of 1.59 meters.
Brian Strachn also competed in two individual finals on Sunday, the men’s 100- and 200-meter dashes. He finished fifth and seventh in the events, respectively.
The Terriers finished strong in their final event of the day as the men’s 4×400 relay squad followed up its second place at the Penn Relays with yet another silver medal, this time finishing just .10 seconds off the outdoor school record with a time of 3:14.54.
The SFC athletes who qualified will return to the track next weekend for the IC4A/ECAC Championships in Williamsburg, Virginia for the final competition of the season.
Brooklyn College junior guard Gianna Gotti had a season to remember, and the history books will remember it long after he career here is done.
Gotti, who guided the Bulldogs to their second straight CUNYAC Championship and their first win ever at the Division III NCAA Tournament, finished the campaign with 4.57 steals per contest, leading the nation in that category.
She also finished second nationally in total steals with 105 and 11th in the country with 5.7 assists per game.
According to the BC Athletic Department, Gotti had a season-high nine steals in a nono-conference win at Farmingdale on Nov. 11. Following the season, Gotti received a number of accolades, including being named a First Team CUNYAC All-Star, D3Hoops.com, All-Region and Second Team All-ECAC.
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