Softball rips 7-game winning streak

Softball (22-16, 7-5 in the NESCAC) closed out the season with a seven-game winning streak that ended Monday.

Merrilee Weston ’13 went 4-4 with an RBI-double on Saturday.
Merrilee Weston ’13 went 4-4 with an RBI-double on Saturday. - Photo Courtesy of Sports Information

The women topped MCLA in a doubleheader, taking the first game 7-3 and the second 11-2 in five innings. The victory came after a three-game sweep of conference foe Hamilton on Friday and Saturday. On April 24, Williams also topped Skidmore in both games of a doubleheader. Despite their recent victories, the women did not qualify for the NESCAC playoffs.

Megan Casey ’13 got the start in the women’s first game of the doubleheader. The Ephs got her a run in the fourth, breaking the scoreless tie with an RBI-double from Merrilee Weston ’13 that plated Ali Graebner ’14. Casey got into trouble in the top of the sixth, when MCLA pieced together a pair of hits and capitalized on an error to push three across. Casey exited early and Kaitlin Dinet ’13 came on to get the last out of the inning. Casey finished with a line of 5.2 innings, five hits, three earned runs, two walks and five strikeouts.

The women were down 3-1 heading to the bottom of the sixth when their bats came alive. Ally Ensor ’14 reached on a throwing error and stole second to lead off the inning. After a sacrifice bunt from Zoe Dillon-Davidson ’15 with runners on second and third, Ensor scored to limit the deficit to 3-2. Weston was hit by a pitch, and Dinet then recorded an RBI with a fielder’s choice. Lindsey Precht ’15 came on to pinch hit and was also hit by a pitch before Theresa Legan ’14 ripped an RBI-double to left to give the women a 4-3 advantage. Captain Ali Hart ’12 pushed two across with a two-RBI single, and a single from Mo Frank ’15 pushed Hart up, allowing her to score on a wild pitch to close out the inning with a 7-3 lead. Dinet pitched a scoreless seventh, earning her the win and the Ephs a victory in the first game of the doubleheader.

Emma Harrington ’15 picked up her 15th win in the late game on Monday. The women gave her plenty of run support, scoring six in the second and three in the third to start the game with a bang. The Ephs went long three times in the sixth: Precht had a three-RBI homer, Hart hit a solo shot and Ensor rifled a two-RBI dinger to give the women a 6-0 lead heading into the third. Harrington kept MCLA scoreless, and the women rewarded her with more support in the third. Precht hit her second home run of the game, this time a two-RBI shot. Ensor doubled to right to score another run, and the women established a commanding 9-0 lead. Harrington gave up a pair of runs in the fifth, but the women got them right back in the bottom of the inning with a two-RBI long ball from Hart to win the game 11-2 in five.

The women found similar success in their doubleheader against Hamilton on Saturday, winning both games after five innings via the league’s eight-run mercy rule. Ensor had a massive day: The Eph went seven for seven and earned six RBIs in the women’s two games. Hart hit the homestretch of the season with a banner day and set single-season records for the Ephs in a number of categories, amassing a record 70 hits, 46 runs scored, 14 doubles and 99 total bases this season.

In the early game, the women took a 16-1 victory. Harrington was on the mound, earning the win with five strong innings and giving up just one run on six hits with three strikeouts. Weston went four for four in the game with a pair of doubles and four RBIs. Dinet picked up the win in the rubber match. She pitched a shutout in the five innings of play, giving up just two hits while striking out two batters for her third win of the season. Hart, Frank and Ensor all had three-hit days in the women’s 9-0 win, which was powered by a four-run first.

The women’s first game against Hamilton on Friday was tighter, with the Ephs coming out on top of the Continentals 11-7. Casey got the benefit of a lot of run support in the contest; she earned the win despite giving up seven runs and 10 hits in seven innings, though only three of the runs were earned. On April 24, the women topped Skidmore 6-2 in the early game of a doubleheader and 8-1 in the late game.

Despite not being able to go to the playoffs, Head Coach Kris Herman remains proud of the team’s accomplishments this season. “We have a strong and positive team culture that stresses the process of playing, improving and working together,” she said. “That applies every day and in every situation. Not making the playoffs was an outcome over which we had no control after Middlebury. Consequently, we just played hard with respect for the game and for our team.”

The women concluded their season and will lose just one senior, Hart, to graduation this spring. The women finished third in the West Division, coming in just behind No. 1 Amherst and No. 2 Middlebury.