Sagehen softball fell to Redlands last Saturday in both games of a double-header. Redlands is the defending SCIAC champion and now holds a 4-0 record in SCIAC play this season.
“It was tough to play Redlands during the first round of SCIAC play,” said head coach Joanne Ferguson. “Redlands has a very strong lineup, and it was a good test for our young pitchers.”
Redlands started strong by scoring runs in the first, second and fourth innings while holding the Sagehen bats down. The fifth inning proved to be costly for the Hens, as Redlands added four runs to their lead to go up 7-0. Redlands then added two more runs in the sixth by way of a two-run homer before the Sagehen bats came alive.
Caitlyn Hynes PO ’14 catalyzed the offense in the bottom of the sixth with a hard-hit double. Bri Marcantoni PZ ’12 brought Hynes home on a single to center field. The Sagehens then added three more runs off of two wild pitches and an error, bringing the score to 9-4. In the seventh inning, Redlands secured the win by adding three runs on a two-on homer. The final score was 12-4 in the opener.
Jessica Liu PO ’15 pitched for the first time in her collegiate career. She held Redlands batting at bay for two innings before Redlands’s big hitters came up with a couple RBIs and a home run to quickly bring the score to 9-0 after the fifth inning and therefore finish the game.
Despite the result of the game, Ferguson expressed confidence in Liu and the young pitchers.
“Jessica will play a bigger role on the mound for us now that Cross is gone. I have confidence in the young pitching staff, and I know they will continue to improve throughout the season,” the coach said.
Similarly, the players realized that while the loss in SCIAC play was disappointing, the season is only beginning, and the team still has potential to play in the SCIAC tournament.
“I would say that last weekend’s game… [was] definitely a disappointment to the team, as that was not the best we could have played. That being said, we’ve only played a few games, and the season is a long one,” Liu said.
Seven talented first-years were added to the squad this year. While this has benefited the team greatly by adding depth to every position as well as a new set of big hitters, it also means that most members of the team have not previously played together. Liu predicted that the ability of the players to work as a team will only improve as the season moves forward.
“Our team is young, and it can be tough for the first few games since none of us have played together before, but hopefully in the coming few games we will really jell together and get some wins,” she said.
“The games helped clarify what we need to work on to improve,” Ferguson added.
The Hens now stand at 3-5 and will face Occidental in a doubleheader Saturday for their second SCIAC matchup. They will continue play Sunday, playing Cal State San Marcos, followed by another game against La Sierra.
“The coaches and players believe that we have a lot of potential this season to do well,” Liu said. “Our sights are set on making the SCIAC tournament at the end of April.”