The Middlebury softball team dropped two games in their three-game set against Williams last weekend, but nevertheless the team earned the second seed in the West for the double-elimination NESCAC tournament that will be held at Williams this weekend, and will play Tufts in their post-season opener.
Williams won the first game of the series last Friday, April 25, by a score of 4-3. The Panthers got one on the board in the first when Jackie Stern ’16 scored from second off a single from Hye-Jin Kim ’17. The Ephs responded quickly and with force though, and the first inning ended with Williams up 4-1. Kimber Sable ’14 smacked a two-run double that sent Carlyn Vachow ’16 and Alex Scibetta ’14 in to home plate, setting the Panthers close on the Ephs heels.
Williams kept Middlebury at bay however, striking out 10 consecutive Panthers before Emily Kraytenberg ’14 managed to get on base in the sixth. Sarah Freyre ’17 and Kelsey Martel ’15 soon followed, but the Panthers were not able to get another run in, leaving the final score 4-3.
The teams started the second game of the series on Friday, but it was suspended after three innings with the Ephs up 3-2.
The series resumed Saturday, and the teams split the two games. Williams took the first 5-4, but Middlebury came roaring back, pounding the Ephs 12-2 in the nightcap.
Vachow spurred the scoring during the Friday portion of the suspended game when she fired one to center, sending first Kim and then herself in for a two-run homer in the second. Williams soon answered though, sneaking in three runs in the third to lead 3-2.
Come Saturday, the Ephs pushed on ahead, adding another two in the fourth. It looked like the Panthers might make a come back when Kat Maehr ’16 started off the seventh with a pinch-hit walk and Siobhan O’Sullivan ’17 pinch-ran for her. Christina Bicks ’15 struck a two-run hit to make it a one-run game, but the Ephs eked out the win.
The Panthers were determined to not to let Williams sweep the series though, and they thumped the Ephs in the final game of the day, breaking Williams’ nine-game winning streak. Sable and Kraytenberg both scored in the first, but the third inning was when Sable really hit her stride — she smashed a grand slam that put Middlebury up 8-0.
The Panthers were not yet done thrashing the Ephs — they added another four in the fifth to make it a 12-0 game. Williams managed to get two in the bottom of the fifth, but they were not able to close their yawning deficit, and the game ended after five innings.
The Panthers were happy to have come back in the last game and are looking forward to the tournament this weekend.
“Throughout the year we have known that we have the potential to be a very good hitting team, and our goal for this past weekend was to get our bats going,” Sable said. “Especially in the last game, we achieved this goal and were successful in stringing hits together up and down the lineup to push runs across the plate. This is something that we must continue into next weekend at the NESCAC tournament in order to be successful.”
The Panthers face Tufts on Friday, May 2 at Williams to open the NESCAC tournament.