Softball sweeps Hamilton, splits with Springfield

Softball (12-13, 6-3 in the NESCAC) split a doubleheader this Monday with Springfield (15-21), but managed to pull off the three-game sweep of conference rival Hamilton over the weekend. The women also split a doubleheader last Wednesday with Keene State (9-10-1).

The weekend series with Hamilton as well as the doubleheader against Springfield on Monday marked personal achievements in the already highly decorated career of shortstop Joe Lye ’09, who, in the past month, has surpassed the school record for stolen bases, hits and total bases in a career. Lye set her third school record of the season, most total bases in a career, on Monday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader against Springfield. The Ephs, however, came up short in the end, falling to their out-of-conference opponents 9-6.

Morgan Simpson ’09 picked up the win in Game 2 of the doubleheader against Springfield on Monday afternoon, pitching a complete game and allowing just five hits. At the plate, Simpson went 3-for-4 and hit her third homerun of the season. After falling behind 3-0, the Ephs rallied in the third and fourth innings for a total of six runs. The team relied on Simpson’s strong pitching in the final four innings to shut out Springfield, and the women came out on top, 6-3.

The team couldn’t score in the first seven innings of Friday’s game against Hamilton, the first of the three-game series, but scored nine runs in the final two innings to pull out the victory 9-2. Becky Sansone ’09 was 3-for-4 on the day while Simpson was 2-for-4. Simpson also pitched superbly, giving up just five hits and two earned runs in 7.0 innings of play.

The game proved to be another historical day for a very historical player. After breaking the record for steals in a career earlier this season, Lye went 3-for-4 on the day to make her career hit total 187, surpassing Laura Jacobs’ ’99 record of 185. She is also rapidly approaching a variety of other individual records, which include highest single-season and career batting average and most career runs. “I try not to get caught up in stats and just go out there one game at a time and enjoy playing,” Lye said. “We play to win and any other benefits along the way add some fun to the game.”

In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Hamilton, the softball team got up quickly. After scoring eight runs in the first two innings, Simpson hit a two-run homerun in the sixth to end the game at 10-2, with the mercy rule going into effect. Simpson was 3-for-4 in the game and knocked in five runs, adding to her team-leading RBI count of 24 for the season.

The second game of the doubleheader remained close throughout all seven innings. After going up by one in the bottom of the second inning thanks to a double by Libby Copeland-Halperin ’09 and an RBI single by Lye, the Ephs gave up two runs in the top-half of the third inning and were forced to play catch-up. However, in the bottom of the fourth, Sansone singled through the right side of the infield to knock in what would prove to be the game’s two winning runs. Emily Fowler-Cornfeld ’09 and reliever Mary Beth Daub ’09 shut down Hamilton in the remaining three innings to seal up the 3-2 victory. The sweep put the team into a tie for first place in the NESCAC west.

“Our wins this weekend were definitely team wins – everyone contributed,” Sansone said. “As a senior class, I think we are just excited to see our team coming together as a group and can’t wait for our team to peak in the second half of our season.”

On Wednesday of last week, the Ephs faced off against Keene State and split the doubleheader. In the first game, the top of the Ephs’ lineup led the way – the first four batters accounted for seven runs and eight hits, including four RBIs by left-fielder Copeland-Halperin. Caitlyn Cain ’11 pitched lights-out, allowing no runs until the fifth inning, when a sacrifice fly brought in Keene State’s only one of the game. Cain picked up her second win of the season in the 9-1 win.

The night-cap end of the doubleheader did not go as well for the Ephs; after falling behind 8-4 in the top half of the sixth inning, the women could not overcome the deficit, and fell to Keene State 11-7 despite a three-run rally in the seventh inning. Lye and Copeland-Halperin had two hits apiece, while Simpson had three.

Williams faced off against RPI (18-4) in a doubleheader yesterday, but scores came in too late to be reported. The team will then have a three-game series against Amherst this weekend. The games will be played at 4:30 p.m. at Amherst on Friday, and at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Cole Field on Saturday. The games will conclude the softball team’s regular season. “The games coming up this weekend are definitely crucial as we have to win 2-of-3 to make the tournament,” Lye said, “and since it’s the Amherst series it will be a very exciting weekend.”