By Andrew Arnao
The softball team opened its season in Elon, N.C. last Saturday in the Phoenix Softball Clash, posting a 2-0 victory against Elon and a 7-5 victory against James Madison but falling 8-3 to Presbyterian. Sunday games against Elon and James Madison were cancelled due to bad weather.
The game against Elon belonged to pitcher Alex MacLean ’13, who threw a three-hit shutout. The Bison scored their first run on an error by Elon’s third baseman in the third inning and added their second run in the sixth inning courtesy of an RBI single by infielder Mary Horton ’13. Both Horton and infielder Mallory Lyons ’14 had multiple hits.
“We were excited to finally be playing outside after all the hard work we all have put in over the winter,” Lyons said. “With no team strikeouts, we all put the ball in play and took advantage of Elon’s mistakes. Our pitcher, Alex MacLean, pitched a great game to give us the opportunity to win and we gave her the run support that she needed.”
It appeared that the Bison were heading for a defeat against James Madison, trailing the entire game and heading into the seventh with a 5-1 deficit. An RBI single from outfielder Kristen Zahn ’15 opened the floodgates for multiple errors that allowed another run to score and the bases to be loaded. Down by two runs, Lyons crushed a climatic grand slam to take the lead 7-5. Though James Madison got a runner on in the bottom of the seventh, she was stranded by pitcher Courtney Conover ’14 to end the game.
“Everyone did whatever it took to get on base, and a lot of different people really stepped up and took advantage of the opportunities that were in front of us,” Lyons said.
“In the games against Elon and JMU our bats were on fire,” Conover said. “Even if our hits weren’t getting through, they were hit very hard. The team this year is meshing very well and I have high hopes for us for the rest of the season.”
The game against Presbyterian started less smoothly for the Orange and Blue. The Bison fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first inning, and despite closing the gap with a based-loaded walk from infielder Erin Cox ’15 and an RBI single from pitcher Bridget Gates ’13, they could get no closer.
“Even though we were down throughout the game our team never lost its fight and we did not let it affect how we went into our next game,” Lyons said. “I thought we did a good job of acknowledging what we can work on while staying positive.”
The Bison will return to action next weekend in Huntington, W.Va. for the Marshall Tournament, against Marshall, IPFW and Kent State.
“This weekend was very exciting for our team. We came out strong with two wins and confident that it will continue,” Horton said.