Softball Sweeps Hamilton, Improves to 16-6

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Middlebury spread 24 runs over three games to earn a sweep over Hamilton during the weekend. The Panthers are now 5-1 in conference and tied with Wesleyan for the top spot in the NESCAC western division.

 

The Middlebury softball  team extended its winning streak to 11 games unbeaten with a strong run of games against Skidmore on Wednesday, April 10 and a three-game sweep over Hamilton on Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15.

The Panthers dominated Skidmore in a double-header sweep, winning the opener 9-0 in six innings and took the night-cap 8-0 in five innings. Middlebury scored the opening runs of the game with a bases-loaded walk by Christina Bicks ’15 and an RBI single to center by Sarah Boylan ’13. Jessica Poracky ’13 hit her first home run of the game in the third inning to make it a 3-0 game.

Middlebury pulled away from Skidmore in the fifth inning, knocking in four runs on four hits. After a walk by Poracky and singles by Jessa Hoffman ’13 and Carlyn Vachow ’16, Emily Kraytenberg ’14 brought them in with a two-run triple down the right field line. Alex Scibetta ’14 then singled in Kraytenberg.

Poracky ended the contest as her second homer of the game plated two runs. Alexa Lesenskyj ’14 scattered four hits over six innings of work to pick up the win. Poracky finished 2-2 with three RBIs and three runs scored while Hoffman went 2-4 with three runs scored.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Panthers picked up where they finished the first game by scoring two early runs. Middlebury then racked up three more in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead. Kimber Sable ’14 scored on a one-out double by Hoffman, before a single from Poracky advanced Hoffman to third.

With runners on the corners, the Panthers successfully executed a double-steal of home. While Poracky was thrown out at second base, Hoffman scored from third giving Middlebury a 4-0 lead. Vachow then belted a triple to left-center and made her way home on an RBI from Boylan.

In the fourth, Bicks laid down a sacrifice bunt with Panthers on second and third to add another run to the scoreboard. Hoffman followed with a stand-up triple to left-center to bring yet another Panther home for a 7-0 advantage.

Middlebury ended the game in the fifth inning after Boylan brought in Vachow after she led off the inning with a triple to left-center.

Hoffman went 3-3 in game two, recording a single, double and her school-record 23rd triple, adding two RBIs and two runs scored. Vachow, meanwhile, finished 2-3 with a triple and two runs scored.

Elizabeth Morris ’14 recorded the win, allowing a lone double and struck out three in three innings. Neve Stearns ’16 provided effective relief, pitching the final two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out another.

“Against Skidmore we had some great pitching in both games, and people really stepped up at bat,” said coach Kelly Bvere. “We had 11 hits in both games, so we did a nice job of being consistent.”

Due to weather conditions, the Panthers’ weekend series against Hamilton was moved from New York to Middlebury’s fields. On Saturday April 14, the Panthers cleaned up against the Continentals, claiming the first day with a 4-2 and 10-1 win before finishing the series sweep with a 10-8 win on Sunday, Apil. 15.

In the opening game of the series, Poracky gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first when she singled in Jackie Stern ’16 who had tripled. Hamilton tied the game in the bottom of inning as Olivia Gozdz scored on a field error. Sable and Stern led off the third with back-to-back singles, before Hoffman hit a two-run triple to secure a two-run lead. Hoffman then scored on a groundout to second by Vachow. While Hamilton cut the lead to two with a run in the fourth, Middlebury managed to hang on for the 4-2 win.

Stern finished the game with two runs scored, while Hoffman drove in a pair. Morris struck out six and allowed just one earned run en route to her seventh win of the season.

The Panthers started off the second game slowly, scoring one run in the third on a Poracky RBI single. However, Middlebury ran away from Hamilton in the fifth inning scoring four runs. Poracky initiated the offense, driving in both Stern and Hoffman on a double. Vachow followed with another double to score Hoffman. Kraytenberg finally brought Vachow home with an RBI single.
In the top of the sixth, the Panthers drove in five more runs on six hits to take a 10-0 lead. After singles from Sable and Stern, Hoffman added another single to plate Sable. Poracky then drove in both Stern and Hoffman with another single. Bicks pinch ran for Poracky followed by a one-out walk to Boylan. Another single from Scibetta then scored Bicks. With the bases loaded, a single from Sable pushed Boylan home. Hamilton finished the game with one run on the board in the home half of the sixth inning.

Poracky had three hits including a double with five RBI. Sable finished with three singles, an RBI and two runs. Lesenskyj earned the win evening her record at 4-4, scattering seven hits and striking out one.

Hamilton looked to bounce back the second day, opening up a 3-2 lead after four innings, before Middlebury scored four runs in the top of fifth through an RBI from Hoffman, a double from Poracky and a single from Boylan.

The Continentals benefited from fielding errors in the bottom of the sixth, as they scored two runs without garnering a hit. However, Middlebury added an insurance run in the top of seventh with a home run from Vachow.

Trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Hamilton came back to score two runs to tie the game.

In extra innings, Middlebury led off with singles from Sable and Stern. Hoffman was plunked to load the bases for Poracky who skied a high fly to center field, advancing all runners and scoring Sable. A single from Vachow scored both Stern and Hoffman, giving the Panthers 10-7 lead.

In the bottom of the frame an errant throw to first allowed a final Hamilton run to be scored, but the Continentals were unable to extend the game further.

Vachow went 2-4 with a homer and three RBI, while Poracky went 2-4 with a double and three RBI. Stearns went the first three-and-two-thirds innings allowing three earned runs, before being relieved by Morris who went the final four-and-a-third innings allowing five runs.

Despite extending their unbeaten streak to 11 games, the Panthers are still looking to improve on various aspects of their game.

“We are hoping to improve on getting ahead early in games and staying ahead by scoring in every inning and staying aggressive at the plate,” co-captain Emma Katz ’13 said. “We also want to continue our success by staying relaxed and coming through on the defensive end as well.”