The softball team had reason to celebrate this weekend, as its four wins extended its winning streak to a record-breaking 12 games.
The first two wins came Saturday at Bates, where the Cards crushed the Bobcats 11-2 and 3-2. In the first game, NESCAC Player of the Week Meaghen Dendy ’10 pitched a solid five innings, allowing only three hits and striking out eight, while five Cardinal batters enjoyed multiple-hit games. Karla Hargrave ’08 started the day’s second contest and threw a complete-game, giving up only six hits and one earned run.
Sunday’s nightcap versus Bowdoin proved to be the most exciting game of the weekend. Taking the opening set of a doubleheader by a 4-3 margin, the Cards entered the sixth inning of the second game up by two runs. Bowdoin wouldn’t fall easily, however, as the Polar Bears scored two runs in the top of the inning to tie the game with just a walk and a hit. It wasn’t until the ninth inning, the second consecutive extra inning game for the Cards, that scoring recommenced. This time, Bowdoin took the lead in the top of the inning, scoring one run on three hits.
Facing potential defeat in the bottom of the ninth inning, Nikki Katz ’09 led off, making promising contact, but the Polar Bear leftfielder snagged the fly ball for the first out. Next up was Hargrave, who hit a hard single through the hole at short to start the Cardinal rally. Dendy followed with a huge triple to left field, scoring Hargrave and tying the game at three. After Alicia Collen ’08 drew a walk, Marcia Whitehead ’08 reached first on a fielder’s choice in which the pitcher decided to stare down Dendy at third instead of throwing to first for the out. Molly Gaebe ’07, one of Wesleyan’s top sluggers, fouled out to the first baseman, leaving the bases loaded and two outs as Molly O’Connell ’09 stepped up to the plate. The crowd didn’t have to wait for long, as she drove a single by the second basemen, bringing in Dendy and winning the game with her second hit of the game.
One of the team’s fans, Lisa Drennan ’09, said that it was one of the most exciting games of the season.
“It was crazy,” she said. “I always knew that Molly was part god, but that final at-bat confirmed that indeed, Molly O’Connell is a god.”
Wesleyan’s strong pitching staff is a major contributor to this year’s success, boasting four pitchers with an ERA of 3.52 or better. In contrast, Williams, the only NESCAC rival to best Wesleyan so far this season, has no pitcher with an ERA that low. The Cardinal bats are also on fire, as there are now five players batting over .300—with a team average of .293—out-hitting opponents 245-226 this season. The Cardinals are now 19-11 and first in the NESCAC West.
“It’s extremely exciting to be so competitive this year within our league,” O’Connell said. “None of our next games will be easy, but our team has a lot of confidence going into them, and if we continue to play Wesleyan softball we know we can win them.”
The Cards finish up the regular season with a doubleheader versus Trinity tomorrow and a three-game home series against the Middlebury Panthers this weekend before the NESCAC Tournament.