Postseason Berth for Panther Softball Team

By Kelsey Hoekstra

The Middlebury softball team finished up their busy regular season this week by winning a double header against Plymouth state and dropping the final game against Wesleyan on Sunday, April 26 to finish the regular season 19-9.

The first game of the home finale was a defensive battle, with the only run coming in the third inning. Kat Maehr ’16 scored the lone run on two wild pitches and a two out single by Erin Giles ’17.  Plymouth State tried to come back from the deficit and had runners on base every inning except for the fourth, but was never able to plate a runner. Neve Stearns ’16 recorded the shutout win for the Panthers, improving her record to 7-3.

Middlebury’s bats came alive in the second game, scoring three runs in the first inning. The hosts continued to dominate by adding two runs in the fourth and fifth inning to take a commanding 7-0 lead. Plymouth State scored its lone run in the sixth inning when Rachel Morrissey singled, advanced to second on a walk, and came home off a single by teammate Nicole Abreu. The Panthers did not let this stop their offense and finished the game by scoring two more runs. Maehr opened the final inning with a double, followed by a single by Carlyn Vachow ’16. Siobhan O’Sullivan ’17 brought Maehr home, and Ali Della Volpe ’18 brought in Vachow on a sacrifice fly. Allison Quigley ’18 recorded the win, striking out seven to bring her record to 12-3.

Later in the weekend, the Panthers dropped their final game of the regular season, a makeup game against Wesleyan. Reilly Wieners of Wesleyan brought in both of the Cardinals’ runs with a two-run double in the bottom of the first inning. The lone run for the Panthers came in the fourth inning when Sarah Freyre ’17 plated Jackie Stern ’16, who was pinch running for Maehr. Quigley recorded the loss, retiring in the third. Stearns finished the game in the circle for the Panthers, giving up two hits and striking out five.

Middlebury’s playoff destiny depended on the outcome of the Williams-Hamilton series. Luckily for the Panthers, Williams swept the series, so the Panthers head into the playoff season with the second seed in the NESCAC West. They will face Tufts, the top seed in the NESCAC East.

While the Jumbos might seem like an intimidating opponent, Christina Bicks ’15 remains confident in her team’s ability to pull the upset.

“We are excited to face Tufts in the first round of NESCACs on Friday,” Bicks said. “They have been a challenge for us in the past, but the competition only encourages us to work that much harder this week in preparation. Throughout this season our team has come together to win big games, and we see this weekend as a great opportunity to do just that.”

Williams and Bowdoin will face each other in the other first round matchup of the double-elimination playoff tournament.

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