The Pomona-Pitzer softball team had a rough transition into Daylight Savings Time on Sunday afternoon, as they lost both games in a doubleheader against Chapman University. Chapman, who currently leads the division, won 2-0 and 4-1, respectively, against the last-place Sagehens, causing Pomona-Pitzer’s record to fall to 3-9 overall and 1-7 in SCIAC.
The losses were the most recent in a series of disappointing offensive performances by the Sagehens; they only managed to generate seven hits as a team throughout the entire day. Their only offensive animation came in the second contest when at the top of the fourth inning, Caitlyn Hynes PO ’14, who plays first base, had a two-out RBI double to put the Sagehens on the board and tie the score at one. The run raised the morale of the Sagehen bench for a short time before Chapman responded with a big inning where they regained the lead and extended it by three additional runs. With their bats falling silent again in the subsequent innings, the Sagehens could not overcome Chapman’s lead.
On a more positive note, despite limited support from her offense, pitcher Fiona Riley PO ‘15 battled bravely to keep both games close and clocked in with an impressive overall performance against one of the best lineups in the league. Additionally, the Sagehen defense behind Riley held Chapman to six runs on the day while committing zero errors, which made the apparent disconnect between the team’s performance on the field and the numbers on the scoreboard all the more confusing.
Especially after such a successful offensive 2011-2012 season, during which the team batting average was an impressive .315 and total runs scored totaled 194, it is surprising to see the team of so many returning players have any difficulties behind the plate at all. So far this season, the team batting average has dropped to .248. As a team, the Hens have scored a mere 30 runs in their first 10 games, far below last year’s stats. When asked about such concerns in the first part of the season, many on the team have shrugged off the statistics with convincing resolve.
“For one thing, injuries have really affected us so far this season. Our two, three, and five hitters [and some others] have been injured and out of the lineup at different times, making it difficult for us as a team to adjust to the disruption,” said Jessica Liu PO ’15, who recently tore her ACL and is out for the season. “Having people injured really affects the team when the lineup is constantly changing.”
Teammate and fellow injured player Leah Bleichner PO ’15 echoed Liu’s analysis.
“Having people injured all the time has also disrupted the normal defensive positions, and now people are playing positions they’ve never played before,” Bleichner said. She was unable to play due to a concussion earlier in the season and is still struggling with shoulder tendonitis, which makes swinging a bat a particularly difficult task.
In addition to Liu and Bleichner, other key players who have struggled with injuries include Kathryn Rabak PO ‘13 at third base, who pulled a muscle in her hip and also sustained a concussion, preventing her from playing for much of the season.
Although the realities of these injuries and lineup difficulties have created problems for the Sagehens thus far, the team remains optimistic heading into a long stretch of games over Spring Break.
“It’ll definitely turn around, though, when people get settled into their new roles. We just have to be patient,” Liu said.
P-P heads back into action on Saturday for a home doubleheader against California Lutheran University that begins at 12 p.m.