Women’s softball opened their 14-game spring season at home on Saturday, splitting a doubleheader against Tufts.
The Panthers emerged victorious in the first game, winning 3–2. Jewel Ashbrook ’23 was a standout pitcher for the Panthers, earning her first win for Middlebury. The winning run was scored by Tori Papaleo ’23, who ran home after Noelle Ruschil ’22 hit a walk-off single.
In the second game of the afternoon, the Panthers fell, 10–4. Despite the loss, Megan Fox ’24 and Melanie Mandell ’21 both registered impressive performances, recording two hits each. Mandell is one of three captains on the Panthers, joined by Emily Moore ’21 and Kaylee Gumm ’21.
The first team from Middlebury to officially compete this semester, the softball team enters the season confident, refusing to be discouraged by the unusual season ahead of them.
“Due to Covid, we didn’t start practicing as a team until late February,” Papaleo said. “But in the time we were given, we’ve all been working hard and practicing almost every day. Overall, I feel really confident in my team’s ability going into the season.”
“I think the NESCAC has done a great job making sure we are competing as safely as possible,” Lizzie Hannafey ’23 added. “I am confident that our team will do a good job staying safe and following the regulations.”
The women’s softball team is guided by Kelly Bevere ’99, who enters her 15th season as head coach. Bevere, who has a career record of 257–176–1, has taken the team to the NESCAC Tournament in seven of the past nine times it’s been run.
The softball team will be back in action on Saturday, April 10, when they face Williams in a doubleheader at home.