Cockrell Pitches Way to First Win of the Season

The Pomona-Pitzer softball team (1-12, 1-7 SCIAC) went 1-3 over the weekend, achieving their first win of the season and renewing their spirits despite the three losses that followed. At Occidental College (4-16, 1-9 SCIAC) on Friday, March 7, the Sagehens won game one of a doubleheader 7-0 before going on to lose a close game 7-6. At home against Whittier College (11-3, 7-3 SCIAC) on Saturday, March 8, P-P lost the first game 8-3, and lost the second game 6-0.

In game one of Friday’s matchup against Occidental, Bianca Cockrell PO ’17 had an impressive performance in the circle for the Sagehens. Cockrell, who pitched all seven innings of the shutout, gave up just four hits and one walk while totaling six strikeouts.

“Cockrell dominated the game and took charge on the mound,” head coach JoAnne Ferguson said. “I was impressed with her composure and aggressiveness on the mound.”

The Sagehens scored their first run in the third inning, when Ashley Morello PZ ’15—who had started off with a triple—crossed home plate on a wild pitch.

P-P secured the victory by adding six more runs during an impressive sixth-inning rally. Meagan Tokunaga PO ’15 reached base on an error to lead off the inning, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Lindsay McCord PZ ’16. Tokunaga then scored on a base hit from Paige Oliver PO ’16. 

The next three Sagehens at bat—Cockrell, Susanne Boden PO ’16, and Morello—each drew walks, scoring Oliver and loading up the bases. Aryana Yee PO’16 then singled to center field off of Occidental’s replacement pitcher, bringing two more Sagehens across the plate. Finally, Yee scored on a double from Lauren Boden PO ’14.

“The team was aggressive and played with confidence against Oxy,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been struggling offensively this spring and it was a nice to see the bats finally come alive. We took control of the game and continued to put pressure on the Oxy pitchers the entire game.”

Yee echoed Ferguson’s point, pointing out the Sagehens’ offensive success throughout the weekend as a whole.

“Our hitting started coming together,” she said. “We were able to score more runs in one weekend that we had up to this point.”

Though the outcome of game two against Occidental was not the one P-P had hoped for, they still played strongly throughout the game. The Sagehens held the lead for most of the game, entering the seventh inning ahead by one run. Despite the Sagehens’ efforts, the Tigers snuck in two runs in the bottom of the inning to emerge with the victory.

“We had the lead in game two, but Oxy got some late-game momentum in the seventh inning with darkness setting on the field and we lost our lead,” Ferguson said. “We have to make sure that once we get the lead that we hold onto it and put teams away.”

On Saturday, the Sagehens added another set of losses to their record as they fell to Whittier in both rounds of the doubleheader. In game one, P-P managed to keep their opponents hitless as well as scoreless through the first two innings, but from then on Whittier added runs in every inning except the sixth. 

The Sagehens scored one of their three total runs in the fourth inning when Lauren Boden PO’14 singled to get on base and capitalized on an error by Whittier’s right fielder to score. But despite a late rally in the bottom of the seventh that put two more runs on the board for the Sagehens, P-P could not overcome Whittier’s lead, and the Poets held on for the win.

Whittier came out on top in game two of the doubleheader as well, this time handing the Sagehens a shutout loss. 

“Saturday’s games against Whittier were a setback for us because we can play much better than we did against them,” Ferguson said. “We have to get back to work this week to prepare for four tough SCIAC games this week … We have to keep raising the bar at practice and continuing to improve.”

The team will maintain a busy schedule next week over spring break, with conference play the first weekend and four non-conference games midweek in Tucson, Ariz. Today, March 14, the Sagehens are traveling to face Chapman University (4-10, 3-7 SCIAC) before hosting cross-campus rivals Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (3-6, 3-3 SCIAC) at noon and 2 p.m. tomorrow, March 15. 

Despite the hard work ahead of them, the team remains optimistic about the remainder of the season. 

“We’re continuing to improve each week and I know once we put everything together, our results will reflect our effort,” Caitlyn Hynes PO’14 said.

Yee shared Hynes’ optimism.

“We still have the potential to turn our season around, and I think we are all going to continue to work hard in practice this week to do so,” Yee said. “We have had both great offensive and defensive outings, and it ultimately comes down to putting the two together. We have some pretty important games in Chapman and CMS this weekend, and I’m confident in our ability to get some key wins before our trip to Tucson.”

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