Softball Suffers Two Losses to the College of Wooster
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
Sunday’s doubleheader could hardly have been more frustrating for the Kenyon softball team. A combined 12 errors contributed to back-to-back one-run losses against the visiting College of Wooster. The losses eliminated the Ladies (11-23 overall, 3-9 in conference) from postseason contention.
“The box score pretty much says it all,” Head Coach Erin O’Neill said. “We made a couple of bad plays at bad times.”
The Ladies out-hit the Fighting Scots 20-17 in two games but gave up a total of 14 runs, though only five were earned. The losses were the 12th and 13th in the past 14 games.
“I’m not that frustrated, because we play really well and we’re in the games, but our record could easily be something different,” O’Neill said. “We’re missing those couple of key pieces. I told [the team] after the game that they have a ton of fight. We just put ourselves in situations where we don’t need to fight. We could just win it.”
O’Neill praised the Ladies’ pitching performances. Starters Maddy Stark ’15 and Jamie Samuel ’13 would have enjoyed victories if team defense had supported them. “I thought our pitching was really good,” she said. “And you wouldn’t think that if you looked at just the scores. They gave up a lot of runs, but unearned runs.”
As has been the case in past contests, Samuel carried the offensive load for the Ladies. She went 4-8 over the two games and set a single-season school record for doubles with 18. Olivia Lott ’15 also returned to the Kenyon lineup for the first time in several weeks since suffering an elbow injury, serving as a pinch runner.
The Ladies were 8-8 during their spring training series in Fort Meyers, Fla., but have just three wins since mid-March. O’Neill said the team “got into a groove” during its time in the Sunshine State, but complications began surfacing upon the return to Gambier. Lott and other players suffered injuries, games became spread out between weeks and schoolwork demanded more of the players’ time. What started as a promising season has been surprisingly unfulfilling.
That said, this year’s team has greatly progressed from last season, which featured a depleted Ladies team that barely had enough players to take the field. That team suffered a demoralizing 16-game losing streak, losing by an average of 7.3 runs per contest. Of the last 13 losses in the Ladies’ current season, that margin-of-defeat average has decreased to 5.2 runs, including three games lost by a single run.
“We’ve been in almost every game,” O’Neill said. “We’ve lost a lot of games by one or two runs, sometimes in the sixth or seventh innings. [This season] has a different vibe to it. It feels completely different from last year. “It’s more of a team effort now, different people step up in different situations. Our progress isn’t accurately reflected in our record.”
Although the Ladies have been mathematically eliminated from NCAC postseason contention, there was still plenty of pride on the line in a midweek game against archrival Denison University on Wednesday. Kenyon could have stood in the way of a Big Red conference playoff berth. Unfortunately, the Ladies could not pull out a victory, losing the game by a score of 5-0.