Liberty League play started off with a full spectrum of emotions for the softball team. They showed joy and confidence through the first two games and then the next day it became disappointment and grief.
Now 2-2 after the first weekend in Liberty League competition, the softball team sits in second place in the division and has a 20-13 record overall.
In the first doubleheader against Skidmore College on Saturday, the women came out as they had been all season; firing on all cylinders.
‘This past weekend we played really well on Saturday versus Skidmore,” junior second baseman Erin Clark said. ‘We executed plays on offense and defense and were able to give our pitchers a comfortable lead through most of both games en route to two Liberty League wins.”
The pitchers were huge as the team easily swept Skidmore, only allowing one run. Sophomore pitcher Sara Hutchinson dazzled as she threw a one hit shutout in the second game.
The Skidmore offense could only sit back and watch as freshman pitcher Madeline Skellie and Hutchinson shut down their powerful attack, which had previously scored 79 total runs in five games.
However, when it came time to face Union College in a doubleheader on Sunday, they seemed to have hit a brick wall. One of the most formidable opponents that the women had faced so far Union showed that they were not messing around when it came to Liberty League prowess.
‘On Sunday we lacked the same consistency both at the plate and in the field, resulting in too many errors and hits given up on defense [as well as] runners left on base on offense,” Clark said. ‘We failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities and gave up too many runs to come up with any wins.”
Both games were ended by college softball’s mercy rule, and left the women with a forgettable end to the first weekend in league play.
With Liberty League games continuing until early May, the women still have time to improve on their faults and possibly make a run even further into the postseason.
‘We have to win the Liberty League Tournament if we want a shot at returning to the the NCAA Regional Tournament,” head coach Margaret Yerdon said. ‘We need to get back to playing consistently if we want to compete in the postseason.”
However, the team is not taking the losses sitting down. They will continue to work day in and day out to reach heights previously known.
‘What we need to do is to stay strong; to stay mentally focused in the game even if we make an error or the umpires aren’t giving us the calls,” sophomore right fielder Kim Grimes said. ‘By working through every play together and taking advantage of all the good hits we make and the slip ups the other teams make, we can go far and take the Liberty League once again.”
Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.