Softball’s Weekend Success

By Sebastian Sanchez

Following a tough weekend against Amherst, Middlebury’s softball team headed up to Clinton, N.Y., to compete against the Hamilton Continentals for their second NESCAC series of the season.

On Friday, April 14, Allison Quigley ’18 started on the mound against Hamilton’s Zoe Singer. Quigley, who boasts a solid 5-4 record, is one of three starting pitchers; she consistently throws strikes, gets outs and can throw complete games as well as contribute to her team’s offense. On Friday, she went 2-4 at the plate, including a double and an RBI.

In game one of the series, Middlebury got on the board first as Ali Della Volpe ’18 singled through the infield and later scored on a fielder’s choice — Della Volpe has had an impressive junior year so far with a .348 batting average and seven RBI’s. The Continentals, however, responded in the bottom of the inning with three runs, two of which were unearned. With a 3-1 lead, Hamilton held the lead through the second.

“In the first game on Friday we played very clean defense as a team and also stayed focused on offense, which led to our success,” Della Volpe said.

The Panthers came right back in the third inning. Della Volpe started the rally, reaching on an error, while Kati Dackzowski ’18 and Sarah Freye ’17 walked to load the bases for Melanie Mandell ’20. Mandell, who has had an amazing first year campaign, — batting .459 with a .820 slugging percentage, 21 RBI’s and three home runs — continued to live up to her offensive potential. She smashed a triple in the gap to give Middlebury a 4-3 lead. Quigley helped herself out by crushing a double to deep center to add another tally and she scored when captain Siobhan O’Sullivan ’17 hit a deep sac-fly to the outfield.

The Panthers led 6-3 until the bottom of the fourth when Hamilton tacked on its final two runs making it a one-run 6-5 game. But Quigley held the Continentals to zero runs for the rest of the game as Middlebury tacked on two insurance runs at the top of the seventh and went on to win 8-5.

“After our loss in game two, we learned that we could not leave nearly as many runners on base as we did and still come out on top. We knew we had to refocus,” Della Volpe ’18 said.

On the second day, Saturday April 15, Middlebury geared up to try to sweep Hamilton for the Double Header. In game one, the Panthers got on the board first as Della Volpe drew a leadoff walk, coming all the way around to score on a passed ball. With a 1-0 lead in the first, Mandell also drew a walk and scored on a single by Erin Giles ’17.

Middlebury continued its offensive power as they scored another two runs in the second.

Hye-Jin Kim ’17 started things off with a basic hit and scored on double down the left-field line by Taylor Gardner ’18, who later advanced on a pass ball and scored on a fielders choice. The Panthers held a 4-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth when Hamilton’s Kendall Searcy drew a basesloaded walked for the first run and Emily Fraser brought the second and third runs home with a two-run double. The score remained that way until the seventh.

The Panthers had not scored since the fourth and they could not generate anything in the second half of the game. In the bottom of the seventh, down by one, the Continentals hit back-to-back singles with two outs. Hamilton’s Sophie Cerreta sealed the deal with a three-run walk-off home run to end the game 6-4. Irene Margiotta tossed the first 4.1 innings while Quigley took the loss giving up three runs on five hits.

Though they had lost on a walk-off, Middlebury was ready for redemption. In the nightcap, the Panthers scored in each of the five innings. Quigley brought home the first run with an RBI double in the gap; Liza Tarr ’19 smacked a run-scoring double in the second and Della Volpe made it 3-0 with an RBI groundout.

It was in the third, however, that the offensive floodgates opened up scoring six runs including a two-run homer to left center off the bat of Quigley and a double by Gardner that plated two more runs for a 9-0 advantage.

In the fourth, Gardner plated another RBI for a 10-0 lead, followed by a runscoring base hit in the fifth to extend the lead to 11-0. Hamilton pushed a single run in the bottom of the fifth for the final score 11-1.

Quigley picked up the win in the circle, allowing just one run on four hits with three strikeouts in her eighth complete game of the spring. She went 4-4 at the plate with four RBI’s, while Della Volpe and Gardner both had doubles and scored twice.

“We came out with high energy and cheered very loudly,” said Della Volpe ’18. “Also on the way to Hamilton we watched Remember the Titans, which really pumped us up for the weekend, especially the second game. We started quoting lines from the movie, which helped everyone to loosen up.”

The Panthers return to action this weekend with their third NESCAC series of the season against the Wesleyan Cardinals.