Softball Closes Season with 21-11 Record
Issue   |   Tue, 04/29/2014 - 23:09

The Amherst softball team finished their 2014 season this week, going 4-2 on the week. After knocking off Elms College and winning their Hamilton series, the team split a doubleheader with WPI to finish the season 21-11. The Jeffs end the year in third place in the NESCAC West behind Williams and Middlebury — just short of qualifying for the NESCAC tournament.

Against non-conference opponent Elms College (11-14) on Wednesday, April 23, Jackie Buechler ’17 had a phenomenal showing on the mound, tossing a one-hit shutout and amassing 10 strikeouts as Amherst topped the Bolts 5-0.

Junior Donna Leet ’15 generated a successful offensive outing in the top of the first with a single. Brianna Cook ’16 followed with a double to right center to drive in the junior. In the third inning, senior captain Kaitlin Silkowitz led off with a single and stole second. Kelsey Ayers ’15 then stepped up to the plate and singled to left field. Again, Leet rose to the occasion, tripling to right field to clean the bases. First-year Alena Marovitz drove in Leet with an infield single, putting Amherst up 4-0. Another Jeff score wouldn’t come until the top of the sixth when Marovitz connected on a solo home run.

Next up for Amherst was a three-game series against fellow NESCAC West team, Hamilton.

“Going into Hamilton, we knew we weren’t going to make it to post season, but in a way that made us more determined to prove we weren’t quitters and go at Hamilton with all that we had,” Leet remarked.

Amherst snagged the first win of the series on Friday, April 25, triumphing the Continentals 5-2.

Nicolette Miranda ’16 and Ayers scored runs in the third to push the Jeffs to a 2-1 lead. Miranda led off the lineup with a double, only to score on a Silkowitz single. Ayers then beat out a bunt to reach first, and Cook drove her home on a single.
Hamilton tied the game in the third, but Amherst responded in composed fashion. In the fifth inning, Marovitz tripled to drive in the go-ahead run. Ayers helped the Jeffs to victory, driving home Miranda and Apffel for a 5-2 final score.

Three Jeffs, Miranda, Silkowitz and Marovitz finished with two hits on the day. Buechler tallied a win from the mound, surrendering only two runs on eight hits, while striking out four.

In the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday, Amherst escaped with a 6-5 victory, as both teams drove in all 11 runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

Taking advantage of two Hamilton errors, Amherst posted four runs in the top of the seventh to go ahead 6-3. The Continentals rallied in the bottom of the inning to score twice before Amherst secured the win.

Tuiskula saw the minimum 15 batters over the first five innings, which were a scoreless battle. Leet once again sparked an Amherst run after being walked. Cook doubled, followed by a Marovitz single that drove in both Leet and Cook. In the seventh, pinch-hitter Carolyn Miller ’14 and Silkowitz started the inning with two singles. A series of errors following an Ayers bunt allowed the tying run to score. Leet tallied Amherst’s final run on a Cook grounder.

“The first two games had energy that drove both our offense and our defense, and our pitching was dominant too,” said Leet.
In the third and final game of the series, Amherst’s three-game winning streak skidded to a halt, as Hamilton downed the Jeffs 8-5.

Posting four runs in a two-out rally in the second inning, Amherst jumped out to a 4-1 lead. Sophomore Sarah McKay started an surge for the Jeffs, fouling off six pitches before singling to left. Miranda then singled, which was followed by a Silkowitz single and RBI. Ayers chipped in with another single, while Leet contributed an RBI single of her own. Hamilton responded, however, scoring five runs to erase Amherst’s two run lead. The 13 Jeff hits were not enough to defeat the Continentals.

“In the last game, the Hamilton offense started to come alive, and they got a few good hits in a crucial inning, but despite the score at the end, we were generally happy with the hitting and fielding,” Leet said. “We were hitting the ball hard, but unfortunately right at people, so the numbers really don’t show how well we were playing.”

On Tuesday, the Jeffs faced off against former Amherst head coach Whitney Goldstein and the WPI Goats in what would be their final two games of the 2014 season.

“Going into those games, we knew as long as we stayed confident and played like the team we can be, we would dominate,” Leet said.

“As we closed out the season, we knew we had to remember that we are each other’s strongest motivation,” Miranda added. “Each of us has that natural competitive nature, but our goal was to win for each other, and especially for our seniors. We owed it to them to make this season memorable.”

Against WPI, the Jeffs lost the first game of the doubleheader 6-5 in eight innings, as the Goats had a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth to bring home the winning run. Amherst bounced back to win the second game 7-3, ending their season with a 21-11 overall record.