Williams softball ended the regular season with four consecutive wins against the MCLA Mohawks and the Middlebury Panthers. Several late rallies and extra-inning victories secured for the Ephs a winning season both five games above .500 and just shy of 20 wins.
The Eph bats banged out 17 hits in a 10-2 five-inning mercy-rule win against Middlebury. Williams attacked early and scored seven runs in the first three innings of play as the entire line-up got at least one hit. The Ephs threatened in the first inning as Caitlin Carr ’01 lined a single up the middle and Jess Hartley ’02 laid down a bunt to move her into scoring position. Unfortunately, the Panther third baseman made a nice play on a sharp grounder by Katherine Baldwin ’03 to end the inning.
First-years Courtney Hunter, Cricket Massimiano and Tracy Henderson loaded the bases on three consecutive singles to begin the second, and, one out later, singles by Jen Garabedian ’01 and Gisele Pinck ’02 knocked in Hunter and Massimiano. The bases still loaded, Carr came up and lined a long ball to left-center, but too many inches of centerfielder glove kept the ball in the park and scored only Henderson. The scoring ended there for the Ephs, until the bottom of the fifth when Garabedian, Pinck, Carr and Hartley strung together a series of singles. Hunter ended the game early, driving in the Ephs’ tenth run for the mercy-rule finish.
A pair of errors enabled Middlebury to capitalize on several infield hits early in the game, but the defense rebounded to complement stellar pitching by Kate DeLuca ’03 to hold the Panthers to two unearned runs. DeLuca limited Middlebury batters to just one hit and walked no one in the game.
Earlier in the day, Baldwin pitched the Ephs to victory in the first game of the doubleheader. Rather than an eight-run mercy-rule victory, game one was a close eight-inning win for the Ephs. Williams got on the board early, as Baldwin knocked in Carr, who had laced a single up the middle, stolen second, and advanced to third on a ground ball by Hartley. Unfortunately, Baldwin was unable to plate any more of the nine Williams batters who reached base over the next five innings. The Ephs held the 1-0 lead until the top of the seventh when the heart of the Middlebury lineup hit five consecutive singles and gained a 2-1 edge.
Williams tied it up in the bottom half of the inning. Hartley reached base on a walk, stole second and crossed the plate on an RBI double by Baldwin. Tied at two, the Ephs and Panthers each began the eighth with runners on second base, as per international tiebreak rules. Both teams were able to score one run, but Williams bettered the Panthers’ effort to secure the 4-3 victory. Massimiano, who started on second for Williams, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Henderson. Karen McCloskey ’02 then reached first base when the ball hit her before she could hit it.
Jen Garabedian ’01 drew a walk to load the bases for the Ephs with one out, and Pinck hit a sharp grounder that bounced out of reach of the first basemen, giving Massimiano and McCloskey time to cross home safely. Hunter had four hits and two RBIs, Carr five hits and four RBIs, and Baldwin three hits and three RBIs to complement outstanding defensive performances. Pinck and Hartley turned three double plays to support the continued dominance of DeLuca and Baldwin on the mound.
The late game thrills and extra-inning win against Middlebury were not the first of that sort for the Ephs last week, as Williams also pulled through twice in the late innings against MCLA to earn another pair of wins. In the first of two games against the Mohawks, Williams came from behind in the seventh inning to score four runs and defeat MCLA 6-3, and in the night-cap, Williams held on for the 2-1 extra-inning win.
Baldwin again dominated on the mound, fanning four Mohawk batters while allowing only five hits. Though few in number, the Mohawk hits were timely and gave MCLA a 3-2 lead going into the fifth inning of game one. Williams had scored twice earlier in the game, on singles by Hunter and Massimiano that were followed by an RBI grounder by McCloskey and infield hit by Garabedian. The Eph bats stalled there until the seventh inning.
Massimiano and Henderson lead off the seventh with back-to-back singles and, one out later, Garabedian, Pinck and Carr thrice put the ball in play, scoring first Massimiano and Henderson, then Garabedian and Pinck themselves. The four run inning proved enough to beat the Mohawks, who went down in order to end the first game.
Williams won the nightcap despite having only one hit. Tracy Henderson ’03 had the sole Eph hit in the game while leading the way in the field by nailing a Mohawk runner at the plate to end the eighth inning and secure the Eph victory. Though the Ephs didn’t get the big hits, they made use of a series of sacrifice bunts to score their two runs of the game. Courtney Hunter ’03 scored both runs, one in the fifth and one in the eighth, both times advancing bases following perfect bunts by Henderson.
Henderson commented, “What a solid performance to be proud of and to set the tone for the rest of a winning season. Go us.” Given the subsequent pair of wins against Middlebury, Henderson’s reaction was not only promising but also prophetic. Given the dearth of seniors on the team, the winning tone will remain next year, when Eph Softball will be back. A warm thanks to my teammates and coaches and our purple cow ’03 fans for a super-satisfying season.