Wesleyan ends softball’s season

Outscored 20-3 over the weekend, softball (19-20, 7-5 in the NESCAC) saw its season come to a close as the Ephs dropped two consecutive conference tournament games. On Friday, eventual champion Tufts (28-9, 11-1) blanked Williams 7-0 in the first round of the tourney. The women followed with a 13-3 loss to Wesleyan (10-2, 21-16) the next day, effectively ending their season.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Williams used three runs in the bottom of the inning to gain a 3-1 lead over Wesleyan on Saturday. Joey Lye ’09 jumpstarted the offense with an infield single and quickly stole second. Becky Sansone ’09 advanced Lye to third with a single to center, bringing Katie Powers ’08 to the plate. With no outs and two runners on, Powers drilled her team-leading sixth homerun over the center field fence to give the Ephs their first and only lead of the game.

Wesleyan retook to lead in the top of the second and never relinquished it. The Cardinals proceeded to score in each of the following innings except for the sixth, giving them a decisive 13-3 victory. Karla Hargrave went the distance for Wesleyan. After her rocky first inning, she only surrendered three hits and no runs for the remainder of the game. She also struck out five Ephs.

Pitcher Mary Beth Daub ’11 took the loss. She allowed six runs (all unearned) over 2 and 2/3 innings of work.

On Friday, the Jumbos dealt the women their first loss of the conference tournament, as Tufts first-year Izzie Santone hurled seven shutout innings in the 7-0 victory.

Tufts got all the runs they would need in the first inning. Starter Morgan Simpson ’09 retired the first two batters she faced before getting into trouble with the middle of the order. After a single put a runner on, Tufts’ Christy Tinker knocked the ball over the left field fence to put her team up 2-0.

The Jumbos added a run in the second and another in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Ephs’ bats failed to produce, although Williams threatened a rally in the fifth by loading the bases on two hits and a Tufts error. But Santone got out of the jam when Powers hit a pop-fly to center field.

Tufts picked up two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth to make the score 7-0 going into the last inning. Although the Ephs put two runners on in the seventh, once again no rally materialized, and the women took their first loss of the tournament.

“Against both Tufts and Wesleyan we simply didn’t play our best game,” pitcher Margaret Ryan ’08 said. “We made too many mistakes that they were able to take advantage of and we were unable to come back and score when we needed to.”

Leading the Ephs in a number of offensive categories, Lye finished the season with a .504 batting average. She also led the squad with 41 runs, 64 hits and a .684 slugging percentage. Batting .366, Taryn Goodman ’08 had the second highest average on the team. Powers and Libby Copeland-Halperin ’09 tied for the lead in RBIs with 30.

Powers, although disappointed with the weekend’s outcome, reflected positively on the team. “I think what was most difficult for us was that we knew we were a better team than we ever showed,” she said. “If we had brought our best team this weekend, I can guarantee things would have turned out a lot differently. It’s never easy to end a season the way we did, but we fought until the end and I thank my teammates a lot for that.”

Next season, the Ephs will return a strong core of athletes but will need to fill the big shoes of soon-to-be-graduating seniors Goodman, Ryan, Powers and Kristen Lemons ’08.