By Gianna Addario
---- — Just 12 months ago, Abby Curran was graduating from Bishop Fenwick High School.
Now she’s won a Division 3 NCAA championship with the Tufts University softball team.
The Jumbos completed an undefeated run through the NCAA Division 3 tournament after a 6-5 title-clinching victory over Cortland State yesterday to earn the program’s first national championship.
Tufts (46-3) traveled to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for the finals, sweeping Texas-Tyler, Montclair (N.J.) State and Cortland (N.Y.) State to get to yesterday’s championship game and finished 11-0 this postseason (NESCACs and NCAAs).
“I keep saying that this isn’t real, that winning a national championship doesn’t just happen,” Curran said from Wisconsin after last night’s crown had been won. It actually doesn’t feel over; it seems like there is another set of games to play and we have to keep going. Our whole mindset has been to take it one game at a time.
“It’s just amazing to be part of such a successful team. I feel so fortunate and am trying to ingrain every moment into my memory.”
Curran, a freshman second baseman and utility player for the Jumbos, started in 32 of the 46 games this season and played in eight of the 11 tournament games. In 97 at-bats, she knocked in 15 RBI, had two home runs and finished with a .278 batting average.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to play much at all this year,” added Curran. “The 2012 team had a very successful year before and as a freshman coming in, I was just hoping to get stronger and better for years to come.
“College softball really challenges you mentally and physically. We practice a lot, and with the academics at Tufts it can be extremely stressful. It is really hard to know what the time commitment entails before you actually go through it.”
The 19-year-old Hamilton native was a Salem News all-star her junior season at Bishop Fenwick after rebounding from a broken wrist. Curran had just two errors that season with .411 batting average, 22 runs scored and collected 12 RBI out of the No. 3 slot.
Curran wasn’t in the starting lineup yesterday; instead, Tufts head coach Cheryl Milligan opted for sophomore second baseman Gracie Marshall in the championship game. The Jumbos scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to erase a 5-3 deficit to take its third lead of the day. Sophomore pitcher Allyson Fournier then shut down Cortland in the sixth and seventh innings to close out the championship victory.