Thrilling Softball Win Flanked by Losses
By Kimona Cameron '12, Sports Section Editor
Last Wednesday, the softball team ended its four-game winning streak with a loss to Trinity College. However it secured a crucial win against Wesleyan University on Friday, despite losing two more games against the Cardinals on Saturday. “It doesn’t matter that we didn’t win every game because we always put up a fight,” said first-year Theresa Kelley of the week’s match-ups.

The game against Trinity ended in a 6-4 loss for the Jeffs, increasing the Bantams’ winning streak against Amherst to five. Senior tri-captain Alex Chang-Graham pitched for the first five innings, striking out four and allowing 10 hits. Theresa Kelley ’13 pitched for the last two innings and allowed three hits and struck out one. Senior tri-captain Emily Neill was the only Jeffs player with multiple hits. She also scored two runs.

Trinity held a wide lead over the Jeffs in the first few innings. By the third inning, the Bantams were leading 5-0, with two of those runs facilitated by Amherst errors. The Jeffs closed the gap in the fourth inning, however, when Neill scored on a throwing error. Following up in the sixth, Neill and sophomore Carly Dudzik scored another two runs and Reilly Horan ’13 scored on a single by sophomore Annemarie Iker.

Described as a “quintessential comeback story” by Kelley, the first of the three-game series against Wesleyan University ended in a close 7-6 win for the Jeffs. Pitching for the last 4.2 innings, Kelley went three for four and also shut the Cardinals out from scoring for the rest of the game. She allowed only two hits and struck out three. In addition to her outstanding pitching performance, she was also responsible for driving in the game-winning run in the seventh inning.

The Cardinals started out with a 6-0 lead in the first inning. However, Chang-Graham allowed just three more hits and managed to prevent the team from scoring any more runs for the rest of the innings she pitched. The Jeffs recorded their first run in the fifth inning with a two-run homer by Iker (her third of the season). Kelley, who singled earlier, scored on the Iker homer. Keeping with the momentum, junior Jillian Masi walked and stole second base. She advanced to third while senior tri-captain Jackie Tyler grounded out and scored on a single by Dudzik. Neill singled, allowing Dudzik to advance to second, and she later proceeded to second base on a wild pitch. With Neill on second base and Dudzik on third, Horan singled, allowing both runners to score and earning two RBIs.

Wrapping up the game, the Jeffs gained two more runs in the seventh inning, with Neill scoring on a double by sophomore Stephanie Clegg, and Clegg herself getting on the scoresheet with a game-winning run on a single by Kelley. “We all contributed and picked each other up, and that is the best that you can ask for. I am so honored to have played a role in that win,” said Kelley.

Despite this victory, however, the Jeffs lost their next two games against Wesleyan, with the second game ending 4-9 and the third 2-8. In the second game, Amherst surrendered 13 hits. While the Jeffs were able to grab an early lead, the Cardinals were quick to close the gap and surpass the team in the second inning.

Dudzik gained an RBI early in the first inning after reaching on an error that allowed lead-off hitter Tyler to score. Horan hit an RBI single in the bottom of the inning, propelling the Jeffs to a 2-0 lead, but the Cardinals scored four runs in the second inning and prevented Amherst from scoring for the next three innings. Neill hit a solo home run in the fifth inning, and Masi hit an RBI single in the sixth.

The last game of the series also commenced with an early lead for the Jeffs. At the end of the first inning, Amherst was leading 1-0. Cardinals’ pitcher Dana Levy walked several of the Jeffs batters at the start of the inning. Driving in the team’s first run; Clegg earned an RBI with a bases-loaded walk. The Cardinals took hold of the lead in the second inning after scoring two runs, and they scored another five in the third inning. The Jeffs were unable to maintain pace, only managing to score one other run in the third inning on a double by Horan. Despite being shut out for the rest of the game, Amherst managed to get in two more hits.

Optimistic about the end of the regular season, “[They]’ll use this week to regain our focus and work on some small things,” said Horan. “We want to be firing on all cylinders for the Williams series, and offer a fitting tribute to our three seniors,” she continued. The Jeffs have three more games before the end of the regular season. The team is currently ranked fourth in the NESCAC West Division with a 4-4 conference record.

Issue 24, Submitted 2010-04-28 03:18:14