Lions softball playoff hopes may stay alive

The College held on for two wins on Sunday and kept their playoff hopes alive as they bested Kean University in both ends of the home doubleheader.

The College, rallied for five runs in the fourth inning of the second game and held on to the lead to post an 8-4 victory over Kean University.

The Cougars jumped out to an early lead after scoring one run in the second and two in the third, before the Lions took control.

Kristen Zimmerman, sophomore right fielder, led the Lion charge with a two-for-four performance at the plate. She scored two runs and drove in one.

After pitching four innings of relief, striking out three batters and allowing only one earned run, rookie Jackie Schnorrbusch improved to 6-1 on the season.

Lions 4, Cougars 3

The Lions (22-10 overall, 9-7 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC)) won the earlier game of the contest, when Zimmerman smashed a double to right center, then crossed the plate on a Cougar error in the bottom of the seventh inning, to notch the 4-3 victory.

Carolyn Kaschak, junior shortstop, drove in the first run of the game in the fifth inning. Her single to left center drove in Danielle Bertran, junior leftfielder. The Lions rallied for two more runs in the inning, scoring both on Cougar errors.

Kean threatened to take the lead in the top of the seventh. After a two-run homer off the bat of rookie designated hitter Allie Cenci, the Cougars evened the score at three when freshman infielder Jessica Kwiatkowski singled home sophomore outfielder Megan Sworen.

Sophomore pitcher Jessica Donahue struck out 10 Cougars at the plate and improved to 12-5 with the win.

During the break between Sunday’s two games, the College honored the team’s three graduating seniors, Jen Kichula, Lauren McEvoy and Michele Meier, as well junior Katie Fritz, who, due to academic conflicts, will not able to take the field next season.

McEvoy, who injured her knee earlier in the season, recently returned to the lineup, only to break her arm when she was hit by a wild pitch.

“Lauren’s bat not being in the lineup was one of the differences,” Sally Miller, head coach, said, in reference to the team’s six game losing streak.

Over the athletic careers of the four honorees, the College has posted an overall 107-53 record, with one tie and an NJAC record of 40-19.

Riding on four straight victories after Sunday afternoon’s pair of wins, the postseason once again looks like a possibility to the team, who last week snapped its six-game losing streak.

“One bad week defined our season,” Bertran said. “We really want to make the NJAC’s. If we can get there, we know we can do a good job.”

“Things are turning around for us,” Kichula said. “Everyone has given their all, and I could not be happier with the team.”

Upcoming Game

After Sunday’s victories, the Lions must win their final two games against Montclair State University and hope for a few other rivals to lose in order to advance to the playoffs.

“We are in control of the way that we end,” Miller said.

“We will try to keep focus on what we need to do, and not on how other teams play,” Miller added.