Softball team takes first swings of 2008

The softball team started the season up in the win column as it took seven out of 12 games under the sun in Clermont, Fla., last week.

The Lions had an up-and-down road trip as they had both a five-game winning streak and a three-game losing streak.

The visit to the Sunshine State was opened with back-to-back losses to the University of Rochester in a doubleheader. The Yellow Jackets won both contests by one run each, winning 5-4 and 3-2 despite the Lions leading much of each game.

Late-game let-ups carried over to the next day as the Pennsylvania State University-Behrend Lions tallied two unearned earns in a 4-1 victory over the College.

The overall pitching performance by the College in those games was encouraging. Despite picking up two losses, sophomore pitcher Ashley Minervini was solid in her two outings, giving up seven hits and three earned runs in over 11 innings of work.

“I am happy about my performance, but there is always room for improvement,” Minervini said. “The pitching staff as a whole worked very hard and made great strides as far as experience and confidence.”

Some members of the pitching staff are newcomers to the squad. Freshmen Jamie Moir, Danielle Bertscha and Alex Sietsma have solidified the Lions’ rotation by injecting it with talented youth.

The three young guns had solid outings, including Bertscha and Siestma combining on a five-inning no-hitter against Daniel Webster College for a 10-0 rout.

Several Lions had two hits in the blowout, including Sietsma, sophomore outfielder Danielle Hagel, sophomore infielder Ellen Seavers and freshman infielder Colleen Cawley.

The win over Daniel Webster was the start of the Lions’ five-game win-streak, a streak in which the Lions rolled off a combined 21 runs. Minervini believes the barrage of runs coupled with the strength of pitching kept the tempo of the games in the College’s favor.

“One of our goals in Florida was to maintain control of the game,” Minervini said. “All of our games were really close, and so the games we pulled out were the ones we had the drive and determination throughout all seven innings.”

After winning five games, the team dropped two in heartbreaking fashion, as both losses were by one run.

The losses constituted the Lions’ third of four consecutive “streaks” in Florida.

“The streaking was just a few instances in which we got comfortable and let the game play out itself,” Minervini said.

The Lions were determined to finish positively in Florida. The team pumped out a combined 11 runs in a doubleheader sweep of Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham.

Senior infielder/outfielder Christina Lizzi led the attack with a monstrous triple and three total runs scored on the day. She is currently batting .294 with 10 hits, one home run and four RBIs.

Seavers also made a contribution, as she singled and scored in the first game of the doubleheader and scored once again in the second.

Overall, Seavers is batting .400 with 14 hits, nine runs scored and two RBIs.

While it seemed everyone did her share of work, the players were not satisfied with going two games over .500 to start the season.

“Our team has great chemistry and we are a family on and off the field,” Minervini said. “The record itself does not reflect the effort our team as a whole put into our trip to Florida. Florida enabled more cohesiveness on the field, and we worked out the kinks we needed to.”

Next, the Lions head to Salisbury, Md., to play Ithaca College on Saturday at noon before going head-to-head with host Salisbury University at 2 p.m.