By Michael Battista
The softball team spent spring break in Florida, but instead of playing on the beach or in a theme park, the Lions were playing some great games against tough opponents. The team, after playing eight games down in Clermont, returned home with six wins.
The women played against Concordia University (Wisconsin) and SUNY Oneonta on Saturday, March 14, and like the season opener, they split the two.
The Falcons of Concordia were held to only two hits thanks to the performance of freshman pitcher Sam Platt, leaving the rest up to the offense. The team was able to come up big in the third inning, scoring three runs courtesy of freshman Bria Bartsch, who tripled to score a run. Along with another run in the seventh, the Lions were able to come out with a 4-0 win.
When asked about her success, Phelan said it was all thanks to the work her team had done.
“I give all the credit to my teammates,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to score those runs if they were not getting on base ahead of me. As a team, we just need to stay in the mindset of one pitch at a time. That’s how we win games, by stringing hits together.”
The team hoped to could keep the momentum going against a tough SUNY Oneonta team later that day.
Oneonta would strike first, however, scoring two runs in the first inning and keeping the Lions down for most of the game.
The team tried to get something going in the last inning after junior Deanna Utter singled to bring in a run making in 2-1, but the Red Dragons would hold on to capture the victory.
The next day would bring two more games, as Sunday, March 15, saw the Lion’s facing the University of Massachusetts Boston and Western Connecticut State University.
The Beacons of UMass may have left the Lions scoreless in the first, but the same could not be said for the second inning. The College amassed seven runs as they batted around.
The Lions’ pitching was also able to keep the Beacons down until the fourth inning when they scored four runs. However, the combined effort of Platt and junior Ashtin Helmer helped the team keep the lead and secure the 7-4 victory.
The team then went up against the Colonials from Western Connecticut, who came out swinging and kept it close the whole way through.
After giving up a run in the second, the Lions would bide their time and efforts until the third, when juniors Jamie Purcell and Phelan singled in runs to make it 2-1. The Colonials would battle back, however, scoring three in the sixth off a few stray hits and an error.
Down by two in the seventh, the Lions needed to get something going, and Phelan did just that. With freshman Morgan Gualtieri on base, she tripled into the outfield bringing the deficit to one run. Then, freshman Jess Stevenson singled in Phelan to tie it up.
When asked about her team’s success and missteps during the game, Phelan said it all comes together when it needs to.
“We are a very young team, and no matter how experienced a team is, there are going to be hiccups early in the season,” Phelan said. “We came together and had some clutch play from every single person in the lineup.”
One of those clutch plays came from freshman Madison Levine, who in extra innings was able to single in the winning run, making the final score 5-4.
With a two-game winning streak under their belts, the Lions went into the next game on Tuesday, March 17, with ambitions to keep the momentum going against Hope College, but were silenced, 9-2.
It may have been a desire to bounce back after the last outing, but the Lions came out very strong right off the bat against Plymouth State University. The team plated three in the first and received solid outings from pitchers Platt and Hourihan once again in a 6-0 victory.
The final two games in the Florida outing came on Thursday, March 19, against Utica College and McDaniel College, both wins for the College.
The team now has to prepare not only for classes to restart, but for their next games on Wednesday, March 25, at DeSales University, and Levine thinks the team’s only going to get better.
“As we continue to clean up little things,” Levine said. “Individually, the team will be stronger as a whole.”