- Scott Barboza, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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NORTH DIGHTON, Mass. -- The South Coast Conference softball race is far from over, but the landscape became a little clearer through Monday’s raindrops at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional.
As is customary, the path to the SCC title goes through the Falcons.
But Case, the reigning Division 3 South champions, has shown it is again among the area’s top programs, joining the logjam that includes D-R, Greater New Bedford Voke and Fairhaven atop the standings. And the Cardinals made yet another point to affirm their place among the elite with a 5-2 win—their second of the season over D-R.
“They’re three-time reigning SCC champions,” Case head coach Norm Beauchemin exclaimed. “So yeah, this is big.”
Case (11-4, 10-2 SCC) pitcher Shannon Orton threw a complete-game four-hitter to take the win while striking out six. However, the victory didn’t come without complications as the Falcons (11-4, 10-3) loaded the bases in both the sixth and seventh innings, but were shut out.
“My catcher [Hailey Thibault] did a really great job calling the game today,” Orton said. “She did a really good job mixing the pitches, which makes a big difference.”
The Cardinals flew out to a 4-0 lead in the third. Ally Santerre put Case on the board with an RBI double to left. Danielle Medeiros followed with a sacrifice fly and Kadie Sullivan drove the Cardinals’ third run on a fielder’s choice. Orton capped the frame with a run-scoring two-out double.
Case struck again in the fifth with an unearned run against D-R starter Jill Rocha.
“We just didn’t play well enough to win today,” Falcons head coach Dave Driscoll said. “By my count, we gave them six extra outs during the game. You can’t do that against a team like Case.”
Catcher Nicole Lundstrom accounted for D-R’s offensive output with a two-run single in the fourth.
After earning their second win over the Falcons, the Cardinals hold a half-game lead on D-R in the SCC standings. Still, the league title is a long way from being decided as Case has two games to play against Fairhaven in the final two weeks of the regular season.
The Cardinals last won the SCC title in 2007, the year before D-R made its most recent run.
“These wins against D-R are huge,” Orton said. “They’re a good team, they’re always a challenge for us. To win two over them, it boosts us a lot. We’ve already made the tournament, so we know that, but the wins against them takes us into the next couple games.”
10hAndy Smith, Special to ESPNBoston.com
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22hJohn McGuirk, Special to ESPNBoston.com
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