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 Mike Falk
 Sports Information Director
 Muhlenberg College
 2400 Chew Street
 Allentown PA 18104
 484-664-3232
 falk@muhlenberg.edu

Softball
2009 Season Review:

Centennial Conference champions Lots of hard work, a big change in attitude and some good fortune carried the Muhlenberg softball team to an improbable Centennial Conference championship in 2009.

The Mules tied for last place in the CC with a 4-12 mark in 2008 and were only 8-28 overall. But with new head coach Roni Rivera at the helm, the team took a giant U-turn, going 12-4 in the CC to tie for the biggest improvement in league history.

That record earned Muhlenberg the second seed in the CC playoffs, hosted by regular-season champion Ursinus. In the first game Saturday, senior Samantha Crist hit a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the seventh for an 8-5 victory against third-seeded Gettysburg. The Mules lost their second game to fourth seed Haverford, however, and went into Sunday needing to win three games to capture the title.

Then Mother Nature intervened. Muhlenberg and Gettysburg were four innings into their elimination game on Sunday when the rains came. And they didn’t stop, forcing the
Samantha Crist
Crist became the 21st member of the Muhlenberg 100-hit club with a double in the CC playoffs. On the program’s all-time list, she finished third in sacrifices (29), fifth in walks (50) and sixth in stolen bases (27).
cancellation of the second day of the tournament. By CC policy, the championship went to the highest remaining seed, which was Muhlenberg since Ursinus had been eliminated on the first day.

The CC title was the fourth overall for the Mules, who earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. There they lost to William Paterson and Farmingdale State, ending their season with a record of 19-18.

Muhlenberg was 6-10 before turning things around with an eight-game winning streak, its longest in seven years. During the streak, the Mules found several exciting ways to win, such as:

• Senior RiRi Ferrigno hitting two home runs and recording six RBI in the first game at Franklin & Marshall;

• Sophomore Alyssa Bruckner pitching the program’s first no-hitter in 19 years vs. Dickinson;

• Muhlenberg scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh to come from behind and beat Washington, 3-2;

• The Mules plating eight runs in the top of the seventh to knock off Swarthmore, 9-3.

After the streak was snapped in the second game of the Swarthmore twinbill, despite three Muhlenberg home runs, the Mules had a 10-day layoff due to rain. When they came back, they blasted McDaniel, 9-0 and 11-0, to take over sole possession of first place in the CC.
RiRi Ferrigno
Ferrigno’s career fielding percentage of .981 ranks second in team history for a catcher. She set a school record with 12 total bases in the first game of the F&M twinbill.
Splits with Haverford and Ursinus in the final two CC doubleheaders left the Mules with a 12-4 record, and they needed all 12 of those wins to claim the championship.

Offensively challenged for the previous two years, Muhlenberg raised its team batting average 40 points to .268 and set school records for home runs (12), doubles (48) and extra-base hits (67) in a season. The Mules also raised their team fielding percentage 40 points to .964.

Contributing on both fronts was Ferrigno, an All-CC second-team and all-region third-team selection. She hit .373 with 27 RBI as a senior, becoming the program’s all-time RBI leader (90) and tying school marks for career doubles (36) and home runs (6).

Crist was named to the All-CC first team despite a .232 batting average. As demonstrated in the CC playoffs, clutch hits were here specialty; she drove in 22 runs with only 22 hits. Crist also stole a team-leading 12 bases.

Sophomore Ashley Brewer had a breakthrough year, leading the team in batting average (.422), slugging average (.578) and on-base percentage (.475) while going 9-10 with a 2.43 ERA and four shutouts in the circle. She was named to the All-CC second team, and the Mules’ other pitcher, Bruckner (9-8, 2.17, six shutouts), received honorable mention.

Junior Jenna Van Waalwijk emerged with her best season to date, hitting .293 with a pair of home runs. Sophomore Jess Kasza batted .291 and scored 22 runs.

A trio of freshmen made an immediate impact. Brittany Blohm hit .280 and drove in 14 runs, two with a home run in her first NCAA at-bat. Maggie Scarpelli hit .248 with a home run and 15 RBI, and Shelby Smith led the team with 11 sacrifices and committed only two errors at third base. Ferrigno’s career fielding percentage of .981 ranks second in team history for a catcher. She set a school record with 12 total bases in the first game of the F&M twinbill. Crist became the 21st member of the Muhlenberg 100-hit club with a double in the CC playoffs. On the program’s all-time list, she finished third in sacrifices (29), fifth in walks (50) and sixth in stolen bases (27).

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