Playing With Pride, Softball’s Season Comes to an End

By Sebastian Sanchez, Sports Editor

Hosting their final three-game series of the season, the softball team geared up to compete against Williams on Friday and Saturday, April 28-29.
The Panthers lost the first contest in heartbreaking one-run fashion. The Ephs scored on an error in the top half of the first frame. Williams’ Jessica Kim reached base on an error, stole second and scored on a double to tally the sole run of the game.

Though Allison Quigley ’18 gave her best outing of the season — giving up one run earned on six hits and six strikeouts — Middlebury was unable to muster any offense.
Highlights from Friday’s game were scarce, but Melanie Mandell ’20, who posts a team-high .457 batting average, went 2-3, continuing her stellar first year season.
Taylor Gardner ’18 said that the 1-0 loss was hard to swallow.

“It was a tough one, but I am very happy how the team showed up to play today,” Gardner said. “This has been the best we have played Williams in three years!”
The loss on Friday afternoon put an end to Middlebury’s hopes of reaching the NESCAC playoffs. They fell to 4-6 in conference play.

Middlebury headed into Saturday’s doubleheader looking to close the season on a high note by stealing two wins from the first-place Ephs; unfortunately, they fell short.
In the first game, Middlebury struggled in the field with five errors, allowing Williams to score five runs off eight hits in seven innings. Williams scored two runs in the top of the first to grab an early lead — one the Ephs would hold onto for the rest of the game.

Gardner scored Middlebury’s only run of the game when Erin Giles ’17 singled down the left field line in the bottom of the first.

Williams tacked on one run in the third and two in the fourth extending their lead to 5-1. Middlebury was unable to muster any offensive momentum as Irene Margiotta ’19 suffered the loss.
On the positive side, Mandell went 2-3 again with a couple of base knocks, while Giles recorded her 44th career RBI.

In the nightcap, Middlebury jumped out to an early advantage with a run in the bottom of the first. Hye-Jin Kim ’17 reached on a one-out walk, moved to second on a pass ball and scored on a double down the line by Sibohan O’Sullivan ’18 — her 25th career double and 42nd career RBI. O’Sullivan’s RBI would be the only one run for Middlebury as Williams took the lead for good in the third. Ephs’ Kristina Alvarado smacked a single to left, followed by Jessica Kim’s single to center and rounded out by Mackenzie Murphy’s three-run homerun.

Although the Panthers had themselves in a solid position to cut into the Ephs’ lead with the bases loaded and no outs thanks to three-straight singles by Giles, Gardner and Olivia Bravo ’20 leading off the sixth, Middlebury could not score a single run.

The visitors held on to their 3-1 lead as Allison Quigley ’18 took the loss in what was her 13th complete game of the season.

Highlights of the game included an impressive performance by first-year Marybeth Stone ’20 who went 3-3 at the plate and Bravo who went 2-3 with a double.

It is the end of an era for seniors Giles, O’Sullivan, Kim and Sarah Freyre ’17 who have contributed pride, energy, commitment and hardwork to making the program better.
Giles reflected on her last game in a Middlebury uniform.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to continue my softball career in college,” she said. “Middlebury softball not only allowed me to grow as a player, but also as a person. I can’t imagine my time at Middlebury without softball, the team has become my family and for that, I’ll always be grateful.”

The future is bright for the softball squad, as ten of 14 players will return to the diamond next spring.

“Middlebury softball will be back stronger than ever next year,” Giles said. “With two pitchers coming in, a lack of pitching will no longer be a challenge. The rising senior class is composed of great leaders and the team is incredibly talented. I am super excited to see what they accomplish next year!”