Softball wins three, finishes second in home tourney

Snow twice postponed mid-week matchups between Williams and cross-town rival MCLA, but sunny weather and the boys from Buildings and Grounds worked magic on Cole Field just in time for a weekend tournament co-hosted by the Ephs and Mohawks. Middlebury, Tufts, Colby and Wesleyan traveled to the Purple Valley to participate in the two-day event, which Kris Herman’s Tufts Jumbos and George Galli’s Williams Ephs dominated with three wins apiece; Tufts departed Williamstown the undefeated tournament champion while the young Williams team suffered just one loss and secured second place.

Following Williams’ third win of the tournament, assistant coach Joe Milan expressed the sentiment shared by the team and fans as he commented, “We are very good, a team to be respected, to be commended and are improving every game.”

Milan’s seemingly bold statement is neither unfounded nor biased, as Williams softball demonstrated flawless defense and consistent offense throughout the weekend, particularly in the final contest against the Middlebury Panthers. Williams gained an early lead over Middlebury in the first inning, as the first and third Eph batters, Gisele Pinck ’02 and Caitlin Carr ’01 both lined singles up the middle and cleanup hitter Katherine Baldwin ’03 stroked a solid grounder that was hit too hard for the Panther shortstop to field cleanly. The bases remained loaded until Karen McCloskey ’02 cleared them with a two-out triple to left field. Before the Panthers could retire the side, McCloskey crossed the plate herself with the fourth run of the inning on an RBI single by Jen Garabedian ’01.

The Ephs scattered another eight hits, with three more by Pinck and two more by Garabedian, over the next six innings and added a fifth run in the third inning to cap a 5-0 victory. First-year standout Kaitlyn DeLuca pitched her first collegiate shutout, allowing just two walks and four hits in the seven inning contest.

Earlier in the day in a game against Tufts, the Eph offense was less timely, and despite eight hits and four walks, Williams plated only two of its 12 baserunners. In the first inning, Jessica Hartley ’02 laid down the suicide squeeze to score head-first sliding Gisele Pinck, who had singled and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Carr, to give the Ephs an early advantage. Williams added another run following hits by Garabedian and Kricket Massimiano ’03 and maintained the lead until the Jumbos combined three doubles for a three-run fifth inning.

Though the Ephs threatened to come back in the bottom of the seventh with a pair of leadoff singles by Carr and Hartley, who led the team with two hits apiece, the Tufts defense retired the next three batters to leave Williams just short of victory. Baldwin took the loss on the mound, as seven Jumbo hits contributed to a 4-2 edge over the Ephs.

Though Baldwin took the loss against Tufts on Sunday morning, she pitched a stellar shutout win against NESCAC powerhouse Colby the previous afternoon. Baldwin retired the first twelve Colby hitters and proved her dominance over the plate when she stepped into the batter’s box herself and lined an RBI triple to right-center field, which scored Carr, who had doubled to lead off the third inning for the Ephs.

Massimiano scored her second run of the game – the first coming the previous inning on an RBI single by Karen McCloskey ’03 – in the third inning as well, as designated hitter DeLuca lined an RBI single to right. Also contributing to the eight-hit Eph offensive in the 3-0 victory over Colby were Courtney Hunter ’03, Pinck and Garabedian. Solid defensive play by Tracy Henderson ’03, who made a spectacular shoestring catch, and Pinck, who turned a double play at second base, prevented Colby from capitalizing on their three hits in the game.

A strong Williams defense also supported DeLuca as she pitched the win against Wesleyan in the first game of the tournament on Saturday morning. Third baseman Massimiano and shortstop Hartley moved well laterally to keep hard hit balls in the infield, helping DeLuca limit the Cardinals to just four hits and two runs over seven innings.

Massimiano led the way for the Ephs at the plate as well as in the field, as she and Baldwin had a pair of singles and scored two runs apiece in the 4-2 decision over Wesleyan.

Garabedian also contributed a pair of hits, as she demonstrated her campus-renowned “don’t blink or you’ll miss a pretty sight” speed in bunting herself safely onto first base.

Williams softball takes fast feet, agile hands and good-looking faces to Northampton on Wednesday to compete against Smith College.

You all can next see the superstars at home on Cole Field Saturday, April 22 at 1 p.m. as the good kids host Trinity in a double-header. There will be free Easter candy for the first 283 fans—as if Krick, Kate, Katherine, Trace, Lisa, Court, Gisele, Jess, Karen, Jen, and Caitlin are not incentive enough.