Despite a strong start to the NESCAC Tournament, the Middlebury softball team was unable to progress beyond the semifinal round, falling to Tufts and Bowdoin on the second day of play of the double-elimination tournament. The Panthers advanced in the winner’s bracket on Friday, May 3, after defeating Bowdoin 3-0.
A double from Jessica Poracky ’13 opened up the scoring in the third inning, bringing home Jackie Stern ’16 and Jessa Hoffman ’13 after they pieced together consecutive singles. Middlebury added an insurance run in the fifth as Stern led off with a bunt single. She was brought home when Poracky scored her second double of the game.
Pitcher Elizabeth Morris ’14 was the story of the game, finishing with 13 strikeouts and just one walk in seven innings while improving her record to 12-1 on the season. Poracky went two-for-three from the plate with three RBI while Stern also had two hits in three at bats.
Middlebury advanced to play the eventual champions Tufts Jumbos on Saturday, May 4, falling 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel. Tufts scored the only run of the game in the top of the first. Sara Hedtler led off with a bunt single and scored when Emily Beinecke doubled to right field.
While Tufts’ Allyson Fournier pitched a two-hit shutout, Panthers’ starter Alexa Lesenskyj ’14 took the loss, allowing four hits and one run in four innings of work.
In a rematch, Bowdoin was able to come from behind to earn a place in the NESCAC championship game, beating the Panthers 5-1.
Middlebury started off the scoring when Emily Kraytenberg ’14 led off with a walk, and later scored on double by Sarah Boylan ’13. Despite this, Bowdoin pitcher Julia Geaumont was able to keep the Panthers off the bases for the most part, allowing just two hits and no walks the rest of the way.
The Polar Bears clawed their way back in the fifth inning, scoring three runs. A single from Toni DaCampo secured two runs before she scored on a single from Gen Barlow. Bowdoin added two more runs in the sixth after a double from Casey Correa scored Adriane Krul and Victoria Rusch.
Morris took the loss for Middlebury, surrendering seven hits and three runs with five strikeouts in five-and-two-thirds innings.
Despite falling just a game short of playing in the NESCAC championship game, members of the team said that they were pleased with the season they have had overall.
“We have unity and support that goes so deep, from each of the 18 girls on the team to our three coaches, and such supportive families and friends,” Kimber Sable ’14 said. “We all work together and each individual is an integral part of our success.”
As the team looks forward to next season, they will have to replace a class of four seniors which includes 2012 All-NESCAC first team member and Defensive Player of the Year Hoffman as well as Poracky, a second-team all-conference selection a year ago.