Seeded as co-America East (AE) regular season champions for the first time in program history, the Binghamton softball team went 1-2 at the conference softball championship across two days of play in Orono, Maine. After taking care of business against Maine in short order on Thursday, BU failed to gain offensive momentum on the second day against Albany and UMass Lowell, resulting in a third-place finish overall.

“Obviously we were prepared to go up there and compete,” wrote Binghamton head coach Jess Bump. “We didn’t play our best softball when it mattered most and still hung in and made every game tight.”

Following a bye in the first round, No. 2 Binghamton (34-18, 15-8 AE) slotted up against tournament hosts No. 6 Maine (5-41, 2-21 AE) to begin its tournament run. The game quickly became a pitcher’s duel, with sophomore pitcher Brianna Roberts holding Maine scoreless through the first three frames while Binghamton’s batters failed to plate a run against Maine’s hurler. Although it was Roberts who folded first, allowing a two-run shot in the top of the fourth, the Bearcats responded in short order during their turn of the fourth as sophomore catcher Emma Lawson smashed a two-run home run of her own into left field to tie it before sophomore outfielder Bella Farina batted in one more run with a double to make it a 3-2 ball game. Roberts wouldn’t give up another score the rest of the way, as Binghamton secured the victory to advance in the winner’s bracket.

“We have been fighters all year and played from behind a lot,” Bump wrote. “So it wasn’t a surprise when we answered back with runs.”

To open up action on day two, the Bearcats matched up against No. 1 Albany (33-14, 17-6 AE) for a berth in the championship game. Lawson got back to work on the plate for BU, plating a run off of a single in the top of the first to give BU the lead. However, this would be the only time Binghamton held the lead in the contest. The Great Danes figured out Binghamton’s pitching in the bottom of the second and took the opportunity to go on a 6-0 run for the next two frames to jump to a 6-1 lead. Although BU would keep fighting, getting 10 more baserunners and plating two more runs in the fourth and seventh, it was not enough to avoid the 6-3 loss as they were sent to the loser’s bracket.

“Albany is a great team, and we had some really good at bats throughout the game and hit the ball hard,” Bump wrote. “[We] just didn’t execute when we needed to and gave them way too many extra opportunities.”

With the season on the line, Binghamton faced off against No. 5 UMass Lowell (17-29, 10-12 AE) for its final game on Friday. Once more, Binghamton would set the pace early in the matchup — this time with the River Hawks surrendering a walk with the bases loaded to make it 1-0. From there the game seemed to break into a pitchers duel between the Bearcats and UMass Lowell with senior pitcher Allison L’Amoreaux on the mound. Yet Binghamton’s ace wouldn’t go deep into this one, being pulled after two frames, and the River Hawks capitalized in the third with an RBI single to tie it. The game was locked in a dead heat from there, but despite having runners on base in the fifth, sixth and eighth frames as the game went into extras, BU couldn’t seal the deal and walk off the game. Instead, the River Hawks plated the game-winning run in the ninth before recording a runner-less bottom of the frame to upset BU and end the Bearcats’ season.

“We caught [the River Hawks] on a buzzsaw and we didn’t do a good job making adjustments,” Bump wrote. “We made some great defensive plays to keep the game tight but couldn’t catch any momentum.”

This year’s AE tournament wrapped up a historic season for BU. Alongside its share of the AE regular season title, L’Amoreaux was named the AE player of the year and Bump earned AE coach of the year honors. The awards continued to pile in for the senior pitcher, as L’Amoreaux was named to her first National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s All-Mid Atlantic first team. With a strong core of seniors graduating, Bump stressed that there is still work to be done for Binghamton softball.

“We made a lot of great strides this year and accomplished a lot,” Bump wrote. “This senior class left the program better than they found it and we will continue to check goals off the list year after year.”