This weekend, the regular season wrapped up for UR softball, but given the team’s strong performance of late, there are still plenty of games left to be played. After three more wins on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26, the ‘Jackets stand at 24-11, with a 10-2 record within the Liberty League, which is good enough to qualify them to host the conference tournament, which begins Thursday, April 30.
The ‘Jackets’ final weekend of the regular season began with a doubleheader against RIT, a team they beat twice last year. The ‘Jackets rolled in the first game, taking it 9-1 in five innings. Senoir Brittany Grage picked up her ninth win of the season, allowing one run on six hits, while also helping her own cause with an RBI triple in the second inning. Freshman Julia Liberto also had two RBIs, hitting a double in the second inning to give the ‘Jackets a 4-0 lead.
In the second game, the bats went silent for UR in a 2-0 loss. RIT’s Sierra Valentine improved her record to 2-13 with a two-hit, complete game shutout for the Tigers. Sophomore Eleni Wechsler did her best to keep the ‘Jackets in the game, but shaky defense ended up haunting the team. Four errors, two of which led to runs, ultimately cost UR the doubleheader sweep.
There was little time to dwell on the disappointing end to Saturday for the ‘Jackets, for they had to make their way up north for another doubleheader against Saint Lawrence in Canton, N.Y. Grage’s impressive pitching continued in game one, with the junior striking out five in a four-hit, complete game-shutout as UR grabbed a 4-0 victory. Senior Sarah Wayson had two big RBIs for UR, first breaking a scoreless tie with a single in the fifth and later adding an insurance run on another single in the seventh. Fellow senior Ashley Amidon also put up some offense for UR, launching a pinch-hit home run in her only at-bat in the seventh inning.
Game two was a close affair. Despite some late pressure from the Saints, UR held on for a 4-3 win. Wechsler recorded her tenth victory, while Grage came in late to record the last two outs for her first save. Grage, Liberto and Amidon all had an RBI, with the fourth run coming after a steal from sophomore Shelby Corning that caused an errant throw, allowing Liberto to cross the plate. In the bottom of the seventh, Saint Lawrence trailed by only one run and managed to bring the tying run to second base, but that was as far as they would get, because a pop out to second and a groundout to short ended the game.
The doubleheader sweep clinched the regular season Liberty League title for UR, giving them the right to host the four-team conference tournament, which will also see RPI, Union and Skidmore compete. The double elimination tournament begins Thursday at 2 p.m. when the ‘Jackets face Skidmore at Southside Field.
Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.