Panthers Record a Winning Spring Trip

Enter Heart of Schedule with Wind at Their Backs

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The softball team celebrates a home run over their spring break trip to Clermont, Florida.

The softball team celebrates a home run over their spring break trip to Clermont, Florida.

Susan Quigley

Susan Quigley

The softball team celebrates a home run over their spring break trip to Clermont, Florida.

By LAUREN BOYD

The Panther softball team entered their season as a small, close-knit team looking to win. Throughout their training trip over spring break, the squad hit the field and successfully put a few wins under their belts. After a promising 6–4 spring break trip, the Panthers are excited for the season ahead.
Middlebury started off strong, winning their first two games against Allegheny and Thomas College in Clermont, Florida, to open the season. Both games were characterized by valiant effort from the Panthers. The opener against Allegheny was a back-and-forth affair until the seventh inning, when Liza Tarr ’19’s double sent senior captain Allison Quigley ’18 home, sealing the team’s first win of the season in walk-off fashion, 4–3.
In their second game, the Panthers showed their resilience, which will be key for future success throughout the season, especially given their small roster. Down 5–0 entering the bottom of the seventh, Middlebury came back, guns blazing, to win.
The Panthers cut into the deficit in the bottom of the seventh, where a four-run inning got them squarely back into the game. Their efforts were spearheaded by a pair of first-years, Emily Moore ’21 and Kaylee Gumm ’21. Moore had a 2-RBI triple down the left-field line that brought in Tarr and Taylor Gardner ’18, and then Gumm brought Moore home with a two-run blast to center, making the score 5–4. In the fifth inning the Panthers added four more runs behind a pair of doubles from Tarr and Kati Daczkowski ’18.
Senior captain Gardner put the squad on her back at times during the first two games. Her sacrifice bunt against Allegheny enabled the Panthers to eke out a win, while she went 2-for-3 with a double against Thomas. The captain believes the team’s early success will be important for the season ahead.
“We had great team chemistry and determination to win. We competed against really good teams, which will be awesome going into our Nescac weekends,” Gardner said.
A series of wins and losses came after the first two games. Some highlights included a huge win over Juniata College, where the Panthers came out on top, 6–3. The game emphasized the Panthers’ strength at the plate. Gardner, Tarr, Daczkowski and Emily Moore ’21 each had a hand in the Panthers’ offensive success.
In addition to the Panthers’ offense, Quigley and first-year Emily Morris ’21 had key pitching efforts for the squad. Though the Panthers saw success offensively in the earlier games, the team is hoping to work on execution to assist their dominant defense, led by Quigley’s and Morris’s presence on the rubber.
“Our pitchers and catchers worked really well together,” captain Ali Della Volpe ’18 said. “We need to execute our offense earlier on in games, and especially when we have runners on base.”
Though the Panthers fell to four teams throughout the break, they held strong performances on the field and in the batting cage. Their six wins against Allegheny, Thomas, Juniata, Mount Mary, Buffalo State, and D’Youville showed the strength of the Panther squad. After this trip, the team knows what it needs to do to win.
“We remained really cohesive throughout [the games] and were resilient against tougher teams,” Daczkowski said. “We have a lot of people in new positions, so we just need to work out the kinks by Nescac play.”
The next thing the team is looking forward to, Daczkowski said, is “winning.”
The captains are excited for what lies ahead. The team’s games in Florida were a testament to the next step in the season, and the squad is looking past their losses and working to ensure a successful season.
“Our team was disappointed that we did not walk away with a few more wins, but we learned that we can definitely compete with any team,” Della Volpe said. “We saw what our group can do this year, and we feel confident going into Nescac play.”
After a midweek doubleheader yesterday, Wednesday, April 3, at Plattsburgh, the Panthers will be back in action starting tomorrow in Amherst, Massachusetts, where they will start a three-game series with the 12th-ranked Mammoths.

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Panthers Record a Winning Spring Trip