Pomona-Pitzer softball lost both games of a doubleheader to Vanguard University last Saturday with scores of 3-1 and 11-5. The team now stands at 2-2.
The Sagehens faced some difficulty batting in the first game. Their one run in the first inning was an RBI double by Bri Marcantoni PZ ’12 to bring Leah Bleichner PO ’15 in for the score. It was a low-scoring game from both ends, as Vanguard, after scoring two runs in the first inning, was held at bay until the sixth inning, when they secured one more run to push the final score to 3-1.
“The first game was a tight battle where we simply didn’t string together hits,” said Emily Glass PO ’15.
Fiona Riley PO ’15 made her pitching debut Saturday, keeping Vanguard’s scoring under control throughout the first game. She allowed seven hits and three runs. Riley continued to pitch in game two, along with Caitlyn Hynes PO ’14 and Nickelle Raschick PO ’14.
Despite the low-scoring first game, the bats from both teams came alive in the nightcap, as Vanguard took a quick 9-0 lead and fended off a forceful Pomona-Pitzer comeback effort.
After a costly first inning, Pomona-Pitzer got on the board with three runs in the second, one in the third, and one in the fifth, all while holding Vanguard to nine. Trailing by only four points after the fifth inning, the Hens were hopeful about completing their comeback. However, Vanguard took two more runs in the sixth inning and held the Hens to five runs to make the final score 11-5.
Of the five runs, Bleichner scored three. Riley and Glass accounted for the other two while Jessica Liu PO ’15 and Ashley Morello PZ ’15 came in with an RBI each. Glass had an impressive day at bat, batting 2-for-3 in the opener and 4-for-4 in game two.
“In the second game, despite falling behind early, we were able to fight back every inning and we almost pulled it out,” Glass said. “Our team showed a lot of heart by not giving up after a tough first inning.”
While the losses even the Hens’ record to 2-2, players and coach alike realize that although these games early in the season are important, SCIAC play is what the team is ultimately preparing for.
They are “good momentum and experience preparing for SCIAC play,” said head coach Joanne Ferguson of the games thus far.
The first SCIAC game on the schedule for the Hens is Saturday, Feb. 18, when they will face Redlands in a doubleheader. A major highlight of last year’s season was a 10-7 victory over the Bulldogs.
This year, both Ferguson and the players are hopeful about what the team can accomplish. Games early in the season are helpful in pointing out strength and identifying weaknesses in game play.
“Despite losing on Saturday, I think we played really well as a team,” Glass said. “I think the team looks really good. We have tons of depth and talent at every position, so we’re really excited for the upcoming season. At this point, we’re just trying to work out kinks and have success while preparing for SCIAC play.”
The first-years proved their strength once again last weekend, with all six runs from the day scored by first-years and solid pitching from Riley.
“We have a strong freshman class this year,” said Ferguson. “I was impressed with the level of maturity and composure they had during their first college games.”
Ferguson, like many returning players on the team, anticipates that the talented first-years will play a big role in this season’s success on the field.
The Hens will play two home games this week. Today at 3 p.m., they face Pacific University from Oregon. Tomorrow, they’ll match up against Chapman University in a doubleheader to conclude their last weekend of games before SCIAC play.