The Lion softball squad returned to the state with an impressive 7-3 record and an optimistic outlook on the 2003 season, after kicking off the Spring, competing in the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Florida.
Despite losing the first two games of the week by one run each, the Lions battled back to post a seven-game winning streak, including the defeat of No. 1-ranked Ithaca and No. 2- ranked Lake Forrest, before state rival Rowan handed the College a 14-2 loss in its final game.
The Profs rallied for 12 runs in the bottom of the second, before defeating the College in five innings. The Lions managed to swing for four hits, behind the bats of seniors Lauren McEvoy and Michele Meier and sophomore Kristen Zimmerman. All three hit 1-for-2 from the plate.
“We know they are a big rival, and sometimes games just don’t go right,” Carolyn Kaschak, junior shortstop, said. “The biggest thing is, it was one game. We take the mistakes and learn from them.”
“Rowan showed us what we have to work up to for the season,” Katie Fritz, junior infielder, said. “But our record shows what a great team we are. We are very powerful, and everyone contributed to our wins.”
Prior to being bested by local opponent Rowan, the College extended its winning streak to seven by beating the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in a 7-3 bought.
The College opened the game by tallying one run in each of the first two innings, and then exploded for five in the third inning.
Karen Murphy, junior designated hitter, stood out with a flawless 3-for-3 performance in the batter’s box. Jen Kichula, senior catcher, and McEvoy also contributed with their bats, both hitting 2-for3 for the game.
Jessica Donahue, sophomore pitcher, posted her fourth win of the young season, by enduring seven innings, fanning six, and giving up six hits.
“Jessica shut them down,” Zimmerman said. “They beat us last year, and we jumped all over them this year.”
Throughout the week, the youthful Lions’ pitching rotation put on a positive showing, highlighted by the tremendous efforts of Donahue, who went 4-1 on the week and struck out 35 batters at the plate.
Rookie hurlers Kelly Quigley and Jackie Schnorrbusch also contributed to the team’s success.
“The freshman pitchers learned a lot,” Sally Miller, head coach, said. “They got a good idea of where we want them to be, and where they need to be.”
Along with the rookies, veteran players making their starting debuts stepped it up and elevated their play.
“Karen Murphy was amazing, and called a great game behind the plate,” Danielle Bertran, junior outfielder, said.
“We won a lot of games as a team,” Kaschak said. “Everyone contributed.”
Miller said the success of the Lions squad at the Rebel Spring Games yields an optimistic outlook for the remainder of the season. Many players are hitting at high percentages and defense is coming together.
“It was a really good start, and a very positive week,” Miller said.