Softball rallies to take Little Threes

Alison Michalik ’17 notched two hits against Amherst last weekend en route to a Little Three title. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.
Alison Michalik ’17 notched two hits against Amherst last weekend en route to a Little Three title. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Softball (26-8, 7-2 in the NESCAC) once again recovered from a three-run deficit against archrival Amherst last weekend to post a 6-3 win and capture the Little Three Championship. Tradition holds that any time Williams wins the Little Three Championship, the women ascend to the top of the Lasell Tower and ring the bells.

The win allowed the Ephs to take the best-of-three series from Amherst with two games to Amherst’s one. The women increased their lead in the NESCAC’s West Division to 1.5 games. Additionally, softball had three doubles in the victory, giving them 68 on the season, a new single-season team record.

Mackenzie Murphy ’19 was named NESCAC Player of the Wee on April 26 for her performances, hitting .500 for the week with a .615 on-base percentage and a 1.50 slugging percentage. In this three-game series against Amherst, Murphy homered each game and also doubled. To date, Murphy is batting .409 this season and is tied for the team lead in home runs (four) and RBI (25).

Brooke Bovier ’17 threw five straight shutout innings at Amherst, allowing her teammates to work their way back to a lead. The Ephs’ comeback began in the bot-tom of the second when Melissa Cendejas ’16 led off and was hit by a pitch. Brenna Martinez ’18 doubled to right.

Amherst starter Jackie Buechler retired the next two hitters before co-captain Erica Li ’16 laced a two-strike pitch to left-center field for a two-run double.

The Ephs  scored three times in the fourth to take a 5-3 lead and didn’t look back. Lexi Curt ’18 led off with a double and Mackenzie Murphy ’19 intentionally walked. After an out, Cendejas laced a single to center field that skipped by the fielder, rolling all the way to the fence as pinch-runner Ashley Wirth ’17 and Murphy scored and Cendejas reached third. Martinez then drilled a sacrifice fly to right that easily scored Murphy for the two-run lead.

From the third through the fifth, Bovier remained in complete and impressive command, retiring nine of the 10 Amherst batters she faced. In the bottom of the fifth, Murphy added to the Williams lead when she crushed a solo home run over the left-field fence — her third home run in three games.

Amherst made things tense in the top of the sixth as Alena Marovitz led off with a double and, after an out, Annie Apffel singled to left. Nicolette Miranda then walked to load the bases, but Eph third sacker and co-captain Kacey Cramer ’16 snared a line drive for out number two and Curt made a circus catch of a short foul behind the plate to end the threat.

Bovier went the distance to earn the victory, allowing six hits and four walks over seven innings while striking out two. Williams had 10 hits in the victory. Of the three runs she allowed, only one was earned.

Cendejas was two for two with an RBI. Alison Michalik ’17 and Curt were each two for four.

“The wins this weekend put us in a good position to win the NESCAC West, meaning that we would host the NESCAC tournament,” Li said. “Winning the Amherst series and the NESCAC West are two goals we have for every season. We dropped the first game of the series and were kept to one hit in the second game until the seventh inning, where we were able to push across six runs with our final out of the game. This team has heart and will always put up a fight down to the last out, and this is a characteristic that will take us far.”

“We had some great individual performances this weekend, but everyone found a way to contribute to our success this past weekend. Scoring early and often is something we are definitely looking forward to doing in this upcoming series against Middlebury.”

“We can improve on our goal of making every routine play,” Head Coach Kris Herman said. “We’d like to not have to come from behind so often, which means getting and holding a lead.”

The women face Middlebury at home next weekend.

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