Softball: Top Dogs – BU Wins Sixth Patriot League Title
By Michael Wax
For the fifth time under head coach Ashley Waters and sixth time overall, Boston University softball (51-8, 18-1 PL) are the Patriot League champions, defeating Army (21-37, 10-9 PL) 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.
“My heart hurt last year for some of these kids when they didn’t win it,” Waters said. “It’s pretty exciting to get them back on top and have them have this moment.”
After being regular-season Patriot League champions last year but falling short in the tournament, BU came into this season with a new goal in mind and fulfilled their destiny.
“It means everything,” senior pitcher Allison Boaz said. “After losing last year, we were hungry to do really good this season and comeback. Revenge season, that’s what we called it.”
Even with BU exams ending the day prior, the Terriers still saw a big crowd of students in their championship game.
Boaz and Army senior Alicyn Grete squared off in the championship matchup.
Both teams threatened it in the first inning, getting a runner in the scoring position, but both Boaz and Grete held strong and kept the game scoreless.
“You’ve got to relax and settle in and just throw at them,” Boaz said. “Be aggressive and get ahead in counts.”
After a shaky first inning that saw two runners in scoring position for Army, Boaz settled down and would only allow three hits for the rest of the game, all in separate innings.
“I’m not going to blow it by them so I think just making sure I keep hitting my spots and spinning,” Boaz said. “I know that the defense behind me is gonna make plays.”
BU struck first in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, senior third baseman Caitlin Coker lined a pitch into right field for a double, the game’s first extra base hit. After moving over to third thanks to a wild pitch, Coker would score on a two-out single from Junior right fielder Lauren Nett to give BU the 1-0 lead. Nett, who won the 2021 Patriot League Tournament MVP, made another big impact in the Terriers’ championship victory.
With their 1-0 lead, BU held Army off the scoresheet before doubling their lead in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, senior third baseman Caitlin Coker lined the first pitch she saw into right center field. The NCAA leader in triples made her way all the way to third. After grad student Emily Gant walked and Nett popped out, BU executed a double steal to perfection to make it 2-0. On the first pitch to freshman second baseman Brooke Deppiese, Gant took off on a delayed steal. With a throw to second, Coker took off for home, and flew through the air to avoid the tag and get her left hand on the plate to make it 2-0.
“It was a risky situation, but I was confident that I was going to be able to sneak in,” said Coker. “I’ve always had crazy slides in my career, and I was betting on myself that I could get in for my team.”
With a two-run lead in the seventh, the Terriers turned back to Boaz for the final three outs. With two outs and a runner on first, Coker made a diving stop and threw over to first to seal the win and the title.
“I’m so happy that it was Caitlin because she’s been a great defensive player all year,” said Boaz. “She’s a leader on this team and the fact that she made the last out it’s just romantic, honestly.”
Waters echoed a similar statement on the last out.
“I literally just screamed ‘finish it’,” said Waters. “I knew she had the ball. It was just a matter of throw it across the diamond and Nicole just catch it.”
The Terriers won’t know their region or opening-round opponent until Selection Sunday (May 14, 7 p.m. on ESPN2), but are ready for the challenges ahead.