Sagehens Earn Two Walk-Off Victories

The doubleheader
against Willamette University (0-6) Feb. 20 could not have been more exciting for
the Pomona-Pitzer softball team (5-8, 1-3 SCIAC). Thanks to not one, but two walk-off hits, the Sagehens earned a sweep. 

In their first
game, the Hens headed to the bottom of the eighth down 5-4 after surrendering four late-inning runs after the sixth inning. But then, with the bases loaded, catcher Natalie Ireland PZ ’18
stepped up to the plate looking to collect a key hit.

Ireland rose to the moment and crushed the ball over the left field fence for her first collegiate home run to deliver the Hens the walk-off victory, getting mobbed
by her teammates as she crossed home plate. 

In the second
game, P-P again gave up four late runs at the top of the fifth. As the game
neared its end due to darkness, the bottom of the fifth was the Hens’ last
chance to break a 9-9 tie. Designated hitter Sam Carlson PO ’18 came up with runners on the
corners and one out.

“Runners were on
first and third, and the pitcher had me at a 3-0 count,” Carlson said. “I knew
she had to come at me with a strike if she was going to avoid loading the bases
in a tie game. Usually I wouldn’t be so aggressive on a 3-0 count, but I knew
what was coming, and I took the low inside pitch to left center just like I’d
been working on in practice.” 

The walk-off
double gave the Sagehens their second victory of the day, which, despite some clutch plays by the first-years, was an all-around team effort.

“Sweeping
Willamette was a great feeling and a confidence boost for our team,” Carlson
said. “We came out strong and played strong through both games. Everything
about the games on Friday was a team effort. When we play like we did on
Friday, we realize the amazing potential we have as a team.”

However, the
Hens could not carry over their dramatic performances into their next doubleheader against California Lutheran University (4-9, 4-3 SCIAC) Feb. 21. 

After scoring 19
runs in its first two games, the Sagehen offense faltered against the Regals, suffering a shutout 6-0 defeat. In the nightcap, the Hens gave up two late runs in the top of the
seventh and could not muster any more late-game magic, losing 7-6. Even with the
loss in the second game, the Sagehens were happy with their improvement in the
latter game.

“In the second
game we showed a lot more of the team we are, which is playing with heart and
picking each other up each inning,” pitcher Bianca Cockrell PO ’17 said. “We just didn’t get the
outcome we wanted.”

Right fielder Susanne Boden
PO ’16 went three-for-five in the game with two doubles and a run scored, and center fielder Ashley
Morello PZ ’15 was three-for-three with an RBI. Third basewoman Paige Oliver PO ’16 finished two-for-three with two RBIs.

After dropping
the games, the Sagehens have had a solid week of practice in preparation for
this weekend’s matches.

“We’ve spent a
lot of time in practice this week focusing on clean, sharp defense,” Cockrell
said. “We’re just trying to focus on playing our game every inning and always
playing to our capability.”

The Hens look to
get back to their winning ways Feb. 28 in a doubleheader at the University of
La Verne (7-5, 3-1 SCIAC).

“We’re excited,”
Carlson said. “The doubleheader against La Verne this Saturday will be our
first away games in conference. If we play with the heart we showed against
Willamette, we will come out strong against a competitive team.”

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