Softball Looks to Bounce Back After Two In-Conference Losses
Issue   |   Tue, 04/26/2016 - 23:26

The softball team’s week included two strong wins, but it was marred by a few frustrating losses. The purple and white split their Wednesday double-header with a strong Keene State University team and lost two games in a series of three against NESCAC rival Williams.

Amherst began the week with a decisive 12-3 comeback victory over Keene State. The Owls’ Morgan Fallon struck first, blasting a solo home run in the second inning. Amherst responded in the third inning with three runs and continued the pressure with a breakout sixth inning while Keene State was only able to score three runners throughout the middle three innings.

Another Keene State home run added two more runs to their total, but the Owls could not come close to touching a hot Amherst offense. The scoring was kick-started when a Brianna Cook ’16 double scored Julia Turner ’19. Sammy Salustri ’19, on base after singling, and Cook were subsequently scored. Alena Marovitz ’17 paced the Amherst the offense, going a perfect 4-for-4 and tallying three doubles and five RBIs.

Every batter in the purple and white contributed at least one hit to combine for 14 hits throughout the game. The majority of these occurred in the sixth inning, when the team batted through their whole lineup.

Keene State managed to quell this Amherst hitting in the second game. It became a battle between pitchers — the two combined for 13 strikeouts. First-year Lorena Ukanwa played a tough game in the circle for Amherst, but ultimately fell 1-0. The only run of the game was scored by the Owls in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Amherst offense had an equally difficult time scoring, with only three runners who made it to scoring position. Kyra Naftel ’19 led this effort with her lone double.

Amherst’s heated rivalry with Williams was evident in their three game series this weekend, starting with the hard-fought 7-6 win that began the three-game series. The home team opened the game with a triple by Naftel, who was then scored by Cook.

Annie Murphy ’19 then hit her third home run of the season to score herself and classmate Sara Buck. The Ephs answered quickly with a home run by NESCAC player of the week, Mackenzie Murphy. Their only lead was in the fifth inning, but Amherst quickly negated this differential with doubles by Marovitz, Annie Apffel ’17 and Nicolette Miranda ’16 to score three more runs. Jackie Buechler ’17 was in the circle for the purple and white.

Williams took the game later that day in seven innings, winning 7-3. The Ephs scored first with a solo home run by Amanda Siedem. Amherst took the lead in the third innings with three runs, opened by Miranda, who was the only Amherst player to have more than one hit. Turner and Naftel walked to load the bases for Salustri’s single and Cook’s bunt to finish out the scoring.

It looked as though they would take the series, as they held this lead until the seventh inning. However, in an unfortunate twist, Williams scored six runs in the final inning on only four hits, including three singles, a walk, two passed balls and another home run.

The final game in the series moved to Williams’ home field. The purple and white traveled home frustrated after dropping a lead and losing, 6-3. The game began well, with a double and a single from Salustri and Cook respectively. An error by the Ephs’ catcher allowed Salustri to score and advanced Cook, who was then scored when Marovitz walked.

Turner walked and then stole second base, putting herself in a position to be scored by Naftel’s single. Williams started their comeback in the bottom of the second inning and then continued to surge ahead, scoring three runs in the third inning.
Mackenzie Murphy added her third home run of the weekend for an insurance run in the fifth inning. Amherst did not back down, however, and came extremely close to taking the series when they loaded the bases in the top of the sixth. However, the outs accumulated to end the game in an Amherst loss. Ukanwa, who relieved Buechler, contributed to the comeback attempt by striking out five of the thirteen batters she faced.

This in-conference series loss will motivate the team as they face Western New England University on Wednesday in a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m. The purple and white also has one more shot to redeem themselves in NESCAC play as they fight for a post-season spot against Wesleyan this weekend. Friday marks their final home game of the regular season as Amherst honors five seniors before taking on Wesleyan in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon in Middletown, Connecticut.

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