Suffering two conference playoff loses in as many days, softball (16-17, 8-4 in the NESCAC) saw its season come to a close this weekend. The Ephs dropped the tournament opener to Tufts, 9-3, on Friday. Then, after dismantling Bates, 14-6, on Saturday morning, Williams came up short in a 7-6 loss to Wesleyan that afternoon.
In their elimination game against the Cardinals, the women found themselves in an early 7-2 hole. Libby Copeland-Halperin ’09 gave Williams its only boost in the early going when she belted a two-run shot in the top of the third. Aside from that, however, it was a Wesleyan game for the first three innings, as the Cardinals scored three runs in the second and added four more the next inning.
After a rocky first three innings, starter Mary Beth Daub ’11 responded masterfully. The sophomore retired nine Cardinals in order from the fourth to the sixth inning.
Williams’ bats provided support for Daub’s efforts on the mound. In the top of the fourth, Caitlyn Cain ’11 knocked a single up the middle to score Joey Lye ’09 from second.
The Ephs were still down 7-3 going into the sixth, however, and two quick outs in the top of the inning made a comeback seem doubtful. But Lye, the conference’s leading hitter, jumpstarted a rally for the Ephs with two outs and nobody on as she beat out a bunt single.
Cain followed with a single and Becky Sansone ’09 belted an RBI double. Down by three with two on, Morgan Simpson ’09 singled home both runners to bring the Ephs within one.
With the Cardinals on their heels going into the seventh, the Ephs had three outs remaining to prolong their season. Allison Hart ’12 put the tying run just two bases away, opening the inning with a double.
Next up, Jessie Herzer ’11 moved Hart to third with a sacrifice bunt. After an Eph strikeout, Lye came to the plate one last time. The .563 batter dropped a bunt down the first-base line but was thrown out in a close play.
“We were hitting the ball throughout the whole game against Wesleyan, we just couldn’t string the right number of hits together,” Lye said.
Wesleyan fell to Tufts, 8-2, in the NESCAC championship on Sunday. The Jumbos (38-1) have been nearly unstoppable this year, coasting to their third straight conference title.
Earlier on Saturday, Williams kept its postseason hopes alive by rallying past Bates, 14-6. The outcome was hardly clear through the first four innings, however, as the Ephs trailed 6-2.
But in the fifth, Williams unloaded with eight runs – and plenty of help from some dismal Bobcat defense. After Sansone singled to open the frame, Bates committed three straight errors. Hart, Oriana Mcgee ’12, Sansone, Jess Cross ’10 and Cain all had hits as Williams stormed ahead 10-6.
Williams added four more runs in the sixth to end the game officially on the eight-run mercy rule.
Sansone finished with four of the team’s 18 hits, while Copeland-Halperin went 2-4 with a homerun. Simpson got the win, surrendering just one run over three innings.
The eventual NESCAC champions made short work of the Ephs in the tournament opener, as Tufts banged out 14 hits en route to a 9-3 victory over Williams on Friday.
Trailing by three, Copeland-Halperin hit the first of her three postseason homeruns in the top of the fourth to make it a 4-2 game. The Jumbos added two more in the bottom of the inning before Simpson belted a solo shot of her own in the top of the sixth. But again Tufts responded in kind, and scored three more runs to effectively put the game away.
Lye piloted the Ephs offensively this season with staggering numbers. She led the NESCAC in batting average (.563), hits (63) and runs scored (43). With 30 RBIs each, Simpson and Sansone led the team in that category, while Copeland-Halperin finished with a team-high five homeruns. On the mound, Daub’s 2.70 ERA and seven wins was a team best.
“I am really proud of the progress our team made throughout the season and I think every one of us appreciates the bonds we have that will continue to grow even though our schedule has ended,” Lye said. “We really pulled together and had a lot of fun – softball ’09 was an experience we’ll all remember.”