Softball extends winning streak to seven

Co-captain Theresa Legan ’14 had two hits and one RBI in the women’s 8-0 win over Wesleyan last Saturday at home.
Co-captain Theresa Legan ’14 had two hits and one RBI in the women’s 8-0 win over Wesleyan last Saturday at home.

Softball (20-6, 8-1 in the NESCAC) continued its seven-game winning streak with a two-game sweep over Keene St. last Monday. Williams earned 2-0 and 8-0 victories over Keene St. just two days after finishing a three-game sweep against Wesleyan over the weekend.

In the first game of the home series against Keene St., Brooke Bovier ’17 controlled the game with the help of strong fielding by Williams. The Owls failed to get on base until a walk in the second inning, keeping the pressure off of the Ephs. However, the Ephs did not take advantage in the opening innings, running through their lineup with only two runners reaching scoring position.

In the top of the fourth, Bovier walked Keene St. first-year Aliza Guerrero, who eventually advanced to third, placing the Owls with a prime opportunity to score. However, the Ephs rallied to earn the final two outs of the inning, maintaining a tie game and Bovier’s bid for a no-hitter.

The score did not remain tied for long, as Priscilla Pino ’16 crushed a two-run homer to give the Ephs a 2-0 lead. Williams did not add any more runs, but continued defensive success allowed the women to hold off the advances of Keene St. The biggest scare came in the sixth inning after Bovier walked Guerrero only for Guerrero to steal second with no outs. However, a heads-up double play eliminated the threat, and the Ephs quickly ended the inning with the no-hitter still intact.

Keene St. earned its first hit of the game in the top of the seventh inning, but after three straight outs, Williams secured a 2-0 victory in the opening game of the series.

“Our pitchers have been very, very good and our offense has been feeding off its own successes,” Head Coach Kris Herman said. “Brooke [Bovier] and Emma [Harrington ’15] both threw one-hitters versus Keene.”

In the second game against Keene St., Harrington gave up her only hit in the top of the first inning, which resulted in a double. However, Harrington closed out the inning with two strikeouts to leave the runner stranded.

The Ephs’ offense contributed right away, loading the bases with only one out in the bottom of the first. A fielding error by Keene St. brought Pino to first, allowing Kacey Cramer ’16 and Erica Li ’16 to score. A single by Melissa Cendejas ’16 brought co-captain Ali Graebner ’14 home to make the score 3-0 in favor of the Ephs.

For the next four innings, the women maintained a shut-out by not letting a single Keene St. player reach first base. Meanwhile, the Ephs’ offense continued to dominate, as a three-run homer by Cendejas in the bottom of the third inning coupled with a run by co-captain Theresa Legan ’14 brought the score to 7-0.

In the fourth inning, Williams again loaded the bases, converting great positioning into a run with a sacrifice fly by Ashley Wirth ’17. A wild pitch allowed Williams to score one more run, bringing the score to 9-0. After Keene St. failed to bring the score within eight after its next at bat, the mercy rule was enforced and Williams earned a 9-0 win in five innings.

“Every team member has played an important part in our success,” Herman said. “So many players have been key on offense. Really, there are no superstars on the team.”

Last Friday, Williams began the first game in a three-game home conference series against Wesleyan by displaying its stout fielding, not allowing a runner to move past first base during the first three innings.

In the bottom of the third, a series of fielding errors by the Cardinals allowed Li and Alison Michalik ’17 to score, putting the Ephs up 2-0. Wesleyan responded in the top of the fourth with a run of its own. In the bottom of the fourth, Graebner, after stealing second base, reached home after a hit by Cendejas caused another Wesleyan error.

With a 3-1 lead, the Ephs continued to hold off the Cardinals, only allowing two hits in the final three innings. In the bottom of the sixth, Williams took advantage of a bases-loaded situation when a double from Cendejas brought home two runners, and a single by Michalik added another run to bring the final score to 7-1.

The following day, the Ephs kicked off the second game of the series with a seven-run first inning. The inning was capped with a bases-loaded triple by Mo Frank ’15 immediately followed by an RBI single from Michalik. Wesleyan homered in the second inning to bring the score to 7-1, but Williams responded in the bottom of the third with a four-run inside-the-park play by Frank. Although Wesleyan scored two runs in the fourth to make it an 11-3 game, the mercy rule was enacted after the top of the fifth, giving Williams the victory.

In the late game on Saturday against the Cardinals, the Ephs took an early 2-0 lead after RBIs from Graebner and Lindsey Precht ’17. Both teams were held scoreless over the next three innings, but Williams came out strong in the fifth inning. After scoring five runs in the fifth, Legan connected on an RBI single to bring the score to 8-0, resulting in a walk-off single due to the mercy rule and ending the game in five innings.

The women will host Middlebury this weekend to determine the host of the NESCAC Championships. Friday’s opening game begins at 5 p.m., while Saturday features a double-header with games at noon and 2 p.m. Williams concludes its regular season with a home series against crosstown rivals MCLA this Monday at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., followed by a postponed series against RPI this Tuesday with games at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

“We look forward to the opportunity to host NESCACs and know that we have to win two of three against Middlebury this coming weekend to do so,” Herman said. “Middlebury has beaten us consistently lately so we hope to put our best game on the field and turn that around.”