Softball Splits Wins and Losses, Comes Together When it Counts
By Elaine Teng '12, Editor-in-Chief
The last two weeks have been up and down for the softball team, as the team won three games but also lost three. Fortunately, the Jeffs have been able to come together when it mattered most, pulling out two conference wins in Sunday’s doubleheader win against Hamilton College, leaving them 9-7, and most importantly, 2-0 in the NESCAC West.

The team’s first game after their season-opening tournament in Florida ended in a 5-2 win at Western New England College, where sophomores Theresa Kelley and Reilly Horan combined for four hits and four RBIs to seal the deal. Kelley, fresh off a superb performance in the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic that earned her NESCAC Pitcher of the Week, traded in her glove for a bat by leading off with a home run to left field. Catcher Annemarie Iker ’12 soon made it 2-0 by bringing home Carolyn Miller ’14, before Horan put the game beyond doubt with a three-run homer at the top of the second to leave the Jeffs up 5-0. Western New England rallied in the bottom of the fourth with two scores, but could not overcome the Jeffs’s solid defense.

The Jeffs could not maintain the momentum, however, as they dropped their next three games, beginning with a crushing doubleheader against Trinity College. Despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first game, Amherst soon conceded its fifth consecutive loss against the Bantams, 9-2, before falling again 9-1 later that day.

The Jeffs lessened the deficit two days later, but still could not overcome their opponents, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), despite a stunning display from Kelley. The star pitcher struck out 10 batters and allowed only one run in six innings on the mound, but it wasn’t enough. The Engineers first took advantage of a Jeff error before clinching the game 2-1 in the fourth inning.

The Jeffs ground out a win when it mattered most, however, by stringing together two successive conference wins against Hamilton. After falling behind early 1-0, Amherst pulled together 11 straight unanswered runs, starting with three hits in the bottom of the first, but Kelley’s three-run hit made the crucial difference. From there on, it was smooth sailing for the Jeffs, who added two runs in the third through Iker’s two-RBI double before piling on another six in the fourth inning, which invoked the mercy rule.

The Continentals would not go down easy, however, rallying back in the second round of the doubleheader to match the Jeffs hit for hit in a tight, suspenseful game that required late-game heroics. The lead changed three times, with Hamilton going ahead first in the third inning, before the Jeffs caught up an inning later through an RBI-double by Iker. First-year Arielle Doering ’14 continued with the consistency she displayed during the spring break tournament by scoring in the fifth off a Miller fly ball.

Another inning brought another run, this time from the Continentals, who equalized at 2-2 before taking the lead in the eighth when Leigh Sherrow singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a wild pitch and finally scored on a single from classmate Liz Reid. The Jeffs would not let go, however, with Miller and Iker saving the day with a homer and a walk-off single, respectively, to bring the Jeffs to their sixth consecutive win against the Continentals.

Much of the talk surrounding the team at the beginning of the season was about the loss of talented seniors last year and the need for the younger players to step up. Kelley, along with many of her teammates, has certainly done so, and the pitcher believes that she is stronger than ever.

“As a pitcher, every game puts you in countless situations where you can either let one mistake lead to another, or you can step up and cause the batter to make the next mistake,” she said. “When I treat every batter like a crucial, individual battle, I am more successful. I think that I am tougher mentally right now than I have ever been, and more experience will make me stronger.”

As the team looks forward to their next game against Westfield State today at 3:30 p.m., Kelley said that the key to further wins lay in the team’s selflessness.

“When we are both working together and for each other, we are more successful. I try to impart the idea of the ‘team swing’ upon my teammates,” she explained. “That is the swing that starts a two-out rally, the swing that sacrifices yourself to score your teammate, and the mishit ball that still manages to push the winning run across. When you swing for the fences and for your stats you start to run into trouble. If we can remain as selfless as possible throughout this next critical part of our season then we will be very successful.”

Issue 21, Submitted 2011-04-09 01:17:03