Softball Team Takes Series from Lord Jeffs

By Kelsey Hoekstra

The Middlebury softball team had an eventful and successful week, beginning with a sweep of Castleton State on Wednesday, April 15.

In the opening game, the Panthers, led by pitcher Allison Quigley ’18 dominated the Spartans, jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. They followed that up in the third inning when Hye-Jin Kim ’17 drove in Carlyn Vachow ’16 and Quigley, followed by two unearned runs for a comfortable 7-0 lead.

The Spartans came back with a vengeance in the second game, scoring the first run in the first inning and expanding that to 3-0 by the third. Emma Hamilton ’17 started the Panther’s comeback in the fourth with a homerun. Erin Giles ’17 then doubled in the fifth to plate two runners and tie the game. Middlebury scored twice in extra innings to secure the sweep.

Later in the week the Panthers faced off against NESCAC foe Amherst in a three-game series. The Lord Jeffs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, but the Panthers shrunk that lead to one in the third inning when Vachow plated Kat Maehr ’16. Amherst fought back with another run in the fifth, followed by Middlebury’s scoring again in the sixth. The Panthers had the tying run on base in the sixth and seventh innings but could not capitalize and conceded the first game to the Lord Jeffs. 

In the second game, Middlebury scored three runs in the opening inning of the second game off of a double by Sarah Freyre ’17. By the third inning the Panthers had expanded this lead to 5-0. Amherst cut the lead to 5-2 in the sixth, and attempted to rally again in the seventh, but pitcher Neve Stearns ’16 managed to hold them off to earn the complete-game win.

Later in the day the Panthers continued their offensive streak, scoring seven runs in the first three innings. Amherst tried to break their stride by scoring two runs in the third and hitting a home run in the sixth, but Middlebury followed with four more runs in the sixth inning to comfortably take the final game in the series 11-3.

On Sunday, the Panthers finally finished a series against Williams that they had started weeks before, but the Ephs proved to be too much for the Panthers and finished with a clean sweep.

Williams jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, while a Middlebury hit did not come until the fourth inning. The Panthers were unable to capitalize, as the next hit set up a double play. The Ephs scored another pair of runs in the sixth.

Later that inning Christina Bicks ’15 started a rally for the Panthers, followed by Maehr hitting another double and scoring both Bicks and Siobhan O’Sullivan ’17, who had been hit by a pitch. Williams’s pitcher Brooke Bovier stopped the rally and kept Maehr, the tying run, on base to take secure the win.

Captain Kelsey Martel ’15 praised her team’s strong play throughout this busy season.

“The way our team played this weekend — and this entire season in general — is a true testament to the hard work all of the girls put in before the season and continue to do now,” Martel said. “Battling back against Amherst and taking two games on our Senior and Alumni day was very exciting to say the least, and our close fight with Williams on Sunday shows us just how far we’ve come during this season. Looking ahead, we’ve got a few more clutch games on the regular season schedule, and we’re looking to ride this momentum through those games to the NESCAC tournament.”

This week brings the finale of the Panther’s regular season. The Panthers finish up their regular season with a double header against Plymouth State on Thursday, April 23, followed by another double-header at Keene State. The final NESCAC game will be Sunday, April 26 at Wesleyan and will determine Middlebury’s seed for playoffs.

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