Softball Takes Three from Wesleyan

By Alex Morris

Middlebury swept Wesleyan in a three game series on Friday and Saturday, April 26-27, securing a spot in the NESCAC Tournament and improving to 23-9 overall. With these wins the team earned the top spot in the NESCAC West going into the playoffs. Middlebury then put themselves in a strong position for their first NESCAC tournament game against Bowdoin with two wins against Johnson State on Tuesday, April 30.

Middlebury opened up the scoring in the top of the fourth with a triple from Kimber Sable ’14, who was then brought home on a sacrifice fly by Jessa Hoffman ’13. The offensive charge continued in the top of the fifth as RBI singles from Sable, Jackie Stern ’16 and Hoffman added three more runs.

Wesleyan fought back in the bottom of the fifth, racking up seven runs from four hits with three Panther errors. Five of the runs were scored unearned off Elizabeth Morris ’14, giving the Cardinals their first lead of the game.

The Panthers weren’t behind for long, as a single from Alex Scibetta ’14 plated Carlyn Vachow ’16 before a grand slam over the centerfield fence by Sable  secured Middlebury the win, 8-7.

Sable finished the game 3-4 with a triple, homer, three runs scored and four RBIs while Scibetta went 2-3 with two runs scored.

Although the team secured a spot in the upcoming NESCAC tournament with a win in the weekend’s first game against Wesleyan, Middlebury didn’t look to back down on day two, starting the day with a 10-2 blowout.

With the score tied at 2-2 after runs from Sable and Hoffman, the Panthers erupted, bringing in eight runs in the fifth inning.

Hoffman started the charge with her fourth home run of the season, before a sacrifice fly by Vachow following a double by Emily Kraytenberg ’14 made it 4-2.

Sarah Boylan ’13 added a triple before an RBI single from Emma Katz ’13 extended the lead to 6-2. An error from the Wesleyan fielders allowed four more unearned runs to cross the plate, a two-run double by Kraytenberg tying things up for the Panthers.

Alexa Lesenskyj (6-6) ’14 pitched the first four innings to get the win. Hoffman went 2-3 with two RBIs and one home run, while Jessica Poracky ’13 went 2-3 with one RBI.

Middlebury was not able to repeat a similar scoring feat in the second game, recording just one run for the final win of the series.

To start the 11th inning, a dropped pop-up and awalk got runners to first and second base for Middlebury, before an RBI single down the third-base line from Poracky scored Kelsey Martel.

Morris tossed the final seven innings for Middlebury, sprinkling just two hits and a walk over that stretch while recording five strikeouts. Morris did not allow any runs over that seven-inning stretch, and earned the win for her effort.

Coach Kelly Bevere expressed that tough games against Wesleyan have prepared the team well for the upcoming NESCAC tournament.

“Our team is ready for NESCACs,” said Bevere. “We have been on a mission since the beginning of the season and we’ve really progressed and improved each day. Its important for us to just have some fun and play together; that is the only expectation I have.”

The mid-week game on April 30 just reinforced the team’s confidence going into the NESCAC tournament.

In the first game of the day, Middlebury showed their ruthlessness offensively, racking up 17 runs. Boylan finished 3-4 with two runs and six RBIs while Hoffman went 2-5 with three runs and two RBIs. Rookies Neve Stearns ’16 and Kat Maehr ’16 earned the win for Middlebury, only allowing two hits in the entire game between them.

Middlebury wasn’t able to recreate the same scoring prowess in the second game, hanging on to a tightly contested 3-2 victory. Vachow went 3-4 with one RBI while Sable went 3-4. Lesenskyj went 6.1 allowing five hits and one run before Stearns earned the win.

The Panthers open up their tournament against Bowdoin on Friday, May 3, at Tufts.