By Maximillian C. Burgos
Coming into the week, the softball team’s playoff dreams were still alive. They swept the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights in a doubleheader on Friday, April 28, winning the first game, 9-4, and the second, 3-0. Unfortunately for the Lions, their dreams were crushed when sixth-place Montclair State University swept them in a doubleheader the following day on Saturday, April 29. The Lions lost the first game, 6-1, and lost the second, 14-6.
“We need to come out with same focus we had against Kean,” said head coach Sally Miller. “Today and tomorrow. I know that when we bring our complete talent offensively, defensively and on the mound, we can be hard to beat. When crucial plays occur, pitches or hits that need to be made, we need to make them.”
The Lions came into their match against the Gothic Knights very confident. The team knew they had a shot at the postseason if they remained perfect for the remainder of the season.
In the first game against the Gothic Knights, the Lions had an early misstep on defense, but were able to recover. The Gothic Knights climbed to a 3-0 lead in the first inning after senior first baseman Brittany Paulikas crushed a three-run home run out of the park.
Luckily, the Lions offense came alive in the second inning. Freshman infielder/outfielder Annalise Suitovsky got on base with a walk.
She then stole a base and scored on an overthrown ball. Sophomore infielder/outfielder Danielle Marino then hit an RBI single to keep the inning going.
Sophomore infielder Megan Hevey crushed an RBI triple for another Lions score. Freshman infielder Megan Mayernik capped off the inning with another RBI infield single for the Lions to take the lead.
In the fifth inning, the Lions capitalized off of two miscues by the Gothic Knights. They stole two bases and scored on a series of mistakes. Sophomore outfielder Gaby Bennett took advantage off another error for another RBI late in the game for the Lions 9-4 victory.
Junior pitcher Sam Platt struck out six batters in a complete game victory which was her seventh game of the season.
In the second game, sophomore pitcher Sara Bielamowicz dominated the Gothic Knights. She allowed no runs on four hits and struck out six batters to earn her a second shutout victory of the season.
Hevey ripped an RBI single past the Gothic Knights infielders in the third inning to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead. Junior catcher Jenna Schwartz sealed the victory with a two run RBI single.
In the doubleheader against Montclair State University, the Lions’ playoff hopes ended before the second game. The Lions offense failed to come alive and the defense could not stop the Red Hawks from sealing a 6-1 victory in the first game.
The Lions got off to an early lead when junior infielder/catcher Danielle Carey drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. After that, the Red Hawks took a firm hold of the game and responded at the bottom of the inning with three runs.
The Red Hawks offense erupted in the fifth inning, scoring another three runs and sealing the Lions fate for the season.
Sophomore infielder/outfielder Jess Santelli managed to have a stand out game. She hit a single and a triple and stole a base. However, her rallying effort was not enough to help the Lions win the game.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Red Hawks mercied the Lions as they ran the score up to 14-6. The Lions struggled to keep pace, but only managed to score six runs on eight hits.
The Lions ended their season at 14-17-1. It was a rough season, but many players will be coming back next year with more experience, having learned from the perils of this past season.
“We have learned a lot and have taken some tough losses along the way,” assistant coach Tiffany Rhea said. “The positive spin on such losses is that our players have not given up and that they will fight until the end.”
The Lions hope to carry a fighting spirit into next year and make the College proud.