Softball goes 4-3 on week after early losses

Softball (7-14, 2-1 in the NESCAC) split a doubleheader against Springfield on Monday night, building on the success of a three-game series against Wesleyan last weekend, in which the Ephs bested the Cardinals 2-1. Another split doubleheader against Western New England last Wednesday contributed to a successful week, a welcome improvement after the team went 3-11 over spring break.

Strong pitching from Mary Beth Daub ’11 led the women to a 4-1 victory over Springfield in the first game early Monday night. The first inning was scoreless, but in the second, Kaitlin Dinet ’13 and Amanda Correnti ’13 found themselves on second and third base with two outs against when Carly Ameen ’11 hammered a home run over the fence in the middle of center field, earning her team a 3-0 lead. A bunt from Correnti in the third led Cedar Blazek ’13 to score the Ephs’ fourth run of the night, while Daub allowed only one run the rest of the way to earn the Ephs their victory.

The team, however, could not sustain its momentum in the second game. The team fell 15-7 in five innings because of the eight-run mercy rule to split the doubleheader. The Pride was up 4-0 by the end of their first at-bats, but the Ephs quickly answered, with Blazek hitting a solo home run to start the scoring off in the bottom of the first. Daub and Correnti then both hit singles to get on base before Dinet stepped up to bat and hit the team’s second three-run home run of the night to make the score 4-4. However, Megan Casey ’13, who pitched the second game, couldn’t hold the Springfield offense at bay and the Pride pulled ahead 7-4 in the second inning. The third inning saw the Ephs outscore the Pride 3-2 to make the score 9-7 in favor of Springfield. That score held until the top of the fifth inning, when the Pride scored six more runs to put the game out of reach for the Ephs.

Head Coach Kris Herman, while pleased with the first game win, pointed out that the women’s inability to hold onto the momentum from earlier in the day is an issue they must address moving forward. “We haven’t been as consistent as we’d like,” she said. “There’s still work to be done.”

The women outplayed Wesleyan from the start on Sunday in the third game of the series, crossing home plate four times in the first inning while holding the Cardinals scoreless. Wesleyan was only able to tally one run in the second inning and two more in the fifth, while the Ephs played strong defense to preserve their lead, holding the score at 4-3 until the bottom of the fifth. Blazek then scored an insurance run in the fifth inning to bring the final score to 5-3.

The victory followed a win and a loss against Wesleyan on Saturday. The Cardinals started strong in the first game of the pair, up 2-0 by the end of the first inning. Williams could only watch as Wesleyan increased its lead to four at the top of the third with a two-run homer, and the team couldn’t get on the board until the bottom of the fifth, when Correnti and Erica Wu ’13 scored on a series of wild pitches and errors to bring the score to 4-2. Wesleyan recorded two more runs in the sixth to pull ahead 6-2, but a double from Caitlyn Cain ’11 loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth. Ameen then smashed the ball out of the park for a grandslam to tie the game at 6-6. Cain then scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh when she beat a throw home after a fateful error by a Cardinal, and the Ephs claimed a 7-6 victory.

The second game of the Williams-Wesleyan series opened well for the Ephs: The women sent Blazek and Daub home to answer an early Cardinal run, leaving the score 2-1 at the end of the first. However, Wesleyan scored eight runs on a second inning rally for a commanding lead. The Ephs came within three runs of the Cardinals after four runners rounded the bases in the third to bring the score to 9-6, but that was as close as they would get. The Cardinals countered with another seven runs in the fourth for a staggering 10-run lead. The score held at 16-6 for the rest of the game.

Herman saw the 2-1 result of the three-game series against Wesleyan as the team’s most important accomplishment to date. “The real meat of our whole season is NESCAC competition,” Herman said. “Taking the series [against] Wesleyan was a step in the right direction for our goals and a confidence boost.”

The Ephs also played two games against Western New England College on Wednesday: The Ephs triumphed 4-2 in the first game, but couldn’t keep up their momentum in the second and fell 4-3.

The women’s success this past week can be partially attributed to the 14 games the team played over spring break. Though the Ephs chalked up a 3-11 record, the time on the field was crucial for developing the young team in preparation for the regular season.

“Losing our first eight games [was] hard, but we have done a good job of taking the good from that,” Herman said. “We learned a lot and played a lot of [teams] who were ahead of us in terms of preparation and experience.”

The women played yet another doubleheader at Keene State last night, but results came in too late to report. Williams will host Middlebury on Friday and Saturday, and then will play a doubleheader next Tuesday night against RPI.