The softball team swept the Panthers this weekend in a triple-header at Middlebury, giving them a commanding lead in the NESCAC West division with a record of 8-1.
“We were very determined to beat Middlebury and were able to string hits together when we needed to,” said Co-captain Becca Feiden ’08. “We were also able to take advantage of some key Middlebury errors that added to our momentum.”
The third game of the day proved to be the nail-biter as the teams were deadlocked 1-1 through the first five innings. Wesleyan bats awoke in the sixth however, as they strung together four hits along with an error to score four runs giving them a 5-1 lead that would hold up.
“It was the third game of the day and I think we were feeling a little bit of a dip in energy,” said Shortstop Molly O’Connell ’09. “When [Meaghan] Dendy reached on an error to start the inning off it gave us our second wind and pumped us up—we always do well when the leadoff batter reaches.”
Next up was Marcia Whitehead ’08 who advanced Dendy to second on a sacrifice bunt. Talia Bernstein ’11 pounded a ball through the hole between short and third, giving Wesleyan women on second and third. A wild pitch followed, scoring Dendy and giving the Cardinals what would be the winning run. Wesleyan wanted insurance though, and Taylor Zavadsky ’10 helped do just that, singling and scoring Bernstein. After Joanna Brownson ’08 singled to give Wesleyan two on base, O’Connell finished off the damage, driving in a pair off a huge triple to right center that ended up at the fence.
“Like we’ve been doing all season, we were able to string together a number of hits in a clutch situation to produce a lot of runs when we needed them,” O’Connell said.
It was also Dendy’s second complete game of the series as she allowed only six hits and no earned runs. In addition to her two complete-game victories, Dendy also added seven hits at the plate, demonstrating why she was named NESCAC Player of the Week last week.
Wesleyan’s other starter, Karla Hargrave ’08, pitched a complete game in between, allowing only six hits and one run. She, too, has been posting impressive numbers behind the plate, batting .383. What is perhaps more extraordinary than her batting average, however, is that it is currently only fifth best on the team, showing just how deep and talented the squad is this year.
“We’ve been so successful this year because we’ve gone out every game and played like a team,” Feiden said. “We’re not waiting for the one player to make a big play or hit a homerun—everyone is a dangerous hitter and defensively we are solid all around.”
Wesleyan will face Pine Manor College for a non-conference match at home this Tuesday, followed by three games against Amherst during the weekend.
“Going into the Pine Manor game we are looking to continue to play good softball and improve every day,” Feiden said. We lost to Pine Manor last year and definitely want to avenge that loss.”
Two wins against Amherst this weekend would ensure them a Little Three title. A sweep of Amherst would also mean that Wesleyan would host the NESCAC tournament for the first time as a program.
“The Amherst series clearly holds a lot of importance for us,” Feiden added. “They are definitely a good team and we need to play 21 innings of solid softball.”