Despite Solid Pitching, Sagehens Fall Short

In a busy weekend for Pomona-Pitzer softball, the Sagehens held SCIAC front-runner the University of Redlands (23-7, 19-1 SCIAC) to just five runs over two away games on Saturday, April 5. Those five runs were the fewest ever scored by Redlands against P-P (6-25, 3-17 SCIAC) in a doubleheader, according to head coach JoAnne Ferguson. Although the Sagehens lost the games 1-0 and 4-1, the low run allowance was encouraging for the team.

“We were competitive in both games, and just a hit or two away from sweeping the No. 1 team in the conference,” Ferguson said.

P-P’s two-game set against Chapman University (18-14, 11-9 SCIAC) at home on Friday, April 4 was also encouraging to team members: While the Sagehens dropped the first game 7-0, they came back to win the second 6-4.

“The team played outstanding softball the past three games,” Ferguson said. “I was impressed with our competitiveness in game two against Chapman and in both road games at Redlands.”

In their first game against Chapman on Friday, the Sagehens got off to a rough start. Chapman scored four runs in the first inning alone, while P-P managed just three hits throughout the entire game and failed to score a single run.

During the break before the second game of the doubleheader, the Sagehens regrouped and returned much stronger. In the first inning, Lauren Boden PO ’14 took first base after being hit by a pitch. She went on to steal second, and then scored P-P’s first run on an RBI single by Caitlyn Hynes PO ’14. 

The Sagehens added another run in the fourth inning. An error by Chapman’s third baseman allowed Paige Oliver PO ’16 to safely reach first; she then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Sofia Baig PO ’17, and eventually scored on a single up the middle from Susanne Boden PO ’16. 

It was during the fifth inning, however, that the Sagehens did the most damage. Although three of the four runs P-P scored that inning were unearned, the team’s clutch hitting and aggressive base-running made the difference.

Pinch hitter Aryana Yee PO ’16 led off with a triple to right field, then scored on a ground ball off the bat of Quinn Sheehy PO ’17, who was safe at first on an error by Chapman’s first baseman. 

Another Chapman error put Lauren Boden on base and advanced Sheehy to third. Later that inning, a triple from Hynes scored both Lauren Boden and Sheehy. A passed ball allowed Hynes to cross the plate and score the Sagehens’ final run of the game. Although Chapman scored one more time in the seventh inning, P-P held on to win 6-4.

“In game two against Chapman, we knocked out one of the best pitchers in the league, Natalie Both,” Ferguson said. “Our offense was sparked with timely hitting: two triples and a well-executed suicide squeeze. The team played with fire and intensity. It was one of the best games of the season and a true team effort.”

Saturday’s games continued that intensity. The Sagehens’ fight against their Bulldog rivals may have been the best in program history, as pitchers Eden Griffen PZ ’17 and Bianca Cockrell PO ’17 allowed just five runs total over both games. 

Ferguson credits Griffen and Cockrell’s pitching with much of the team’s success on Saturday. Across their respective six-inning outings, Griffen held Redlands to nine hits while Cockrell held them to three.

The Bulldogs’ only run in game one was unearned. They scored in the first inning as a result of a passed ball at home plate. For the rest of the game, both defenses were rock solid and prevented each other from scoring another run. Ashley Morello PZ ’15, Sheehy, Yee, and Hynes had one hit apiece for the Sagehens.

In game two, the Sagehens had six hits to their opponent’s three, but were only able to convert these hits into one run. 

Nevertheless, they were strong throughout their lineup. Most starters contributed strong at-bats: Morello, Sheehy, Hynes, Lauren Boden, and Baig each hit singles, and Susanne Boden hit a double. 

Despite the loss in the record books, it was a solid ending to a competitive weekend.

“The forward momentum we have going into the last round of SCIAC makes me excited for the rest of the season,” Meagan Tokunaga PO ’15 said. “The improvement we’re seeing is a good prospect for the future of the program.” 

Ferguson is also enthusiastic about the team’s remaining weeks. 

“The way we’ve been playing the past three games should give us good momentum heading into our road games at Whittier [College] this Saturday,” she said. “We want to end this season playing the best softball of the spring yet.”

The first game of Saturday, April 12’s doubleheader kicks off at noon at Whittier. 

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