c/o Wesleyan Athletics

c/o Wesleyan Athletics

Following a huge win over Williams College in the second game of a double-header two weekends ago, Wesleyan’s softball team traveled even farther north to Vermont this past weekend to take on Middlebury College. Sitting at 2–2 in the NESCAC, Wesleyan’s three games against the Panthers were of utmost importance to their conference standing.

The first game was tight for the first few innings with first-year pitcher Isabella Secaira-Cotto ’25 holding Middlebury to only two runs. Wesleyan was able to quickly tie the game up in the top of the third with three singles and two runs of their own. However, Middlebury blew the game open in the bottom of third with a bases-clearing double, adding five more runs in the fourth inning to seal the game. 

Middlebury’s explosion of offensive power continued for the next two games as they beat Wesleyan 12–4 and 12–2 respectively. Errors plagued Wesleyan’s infield and outfield alike, and Middlebury seemed to capitalize on every mistake. Although Wesleyan has three viable starting pitchers, they were forced to use Game 2 starter Revi Brown 23 early in the first game against Middlebury, giving them little time to rest before pitching the very next day. The icing on the cake emerged during Middlebury’s 9-run second inning in the third and final game of the trip.

Despite the three losses, Head Coach of Softball Jennifer Lane was still confident in her team when they headed to their home field on Sunday, April 24.

“We’ve tried to have a short memory this season,” Lane said. “Especially after the past three games against Middlebury, we came back from that trip and said today was a fresh start. From the moment I saw the team this morning at breakfast, I could tell that today was going to have a different result.” 

The Cardinals had almost no time to rest before hosting Hamilton College for the Sunday double-header, completing a frantic stretch of five games in three days. However, after scoring two quick runs in the first inning off some great base running by Hannah Docktor ’24 and Courtney Collins-Pisano ’22, it seemed like the Red and Black had slept well, shaken any fatigue, and prepared to sweep the Continentals. 

Secaira-Cotto bounced back from her shaky start against Middlebury and dominated the Hamilton batters for all seven innings, pitching a complete game with seven strikeouts. After a timely HBP with the bases loaded and a walk in the fifth, Wesleyan tacked on two more insurance runs to make the score 4–1. The Wesleyan dugout was lively and engaged for the entire game, cheering on their teammates and showing the spirit that has been integral to the improved season for the Cardinals coming off of last year.

“We’ve worked really hard as a team over the last three years to turn our culture around and make it into a more positive and supportive one,” Lane said. “That hard work has finally come to fruition this season. The players on the team get along really well and are really supportive of one another on and off the field.”

The Cardinals took the field against Hamilton once again following the invigorating first game. This time, however, it wouldn’t be so easy. Hamilton hit a few singles with two outs in the top of the first, scoring once, and added in another run after starting pitcher Brown threw an untimely wild pitch. However, the whooping and cheering from the Wesleyan bench didn’t stop, and the Cardinals tied the game in the bottom of the third inning. Collins-Pisano, who bats .407, started off the inning with a single, and fellow senior Sophia Sciarappa ’22, who leads the team with a whopping .467 average, doubled her and another runner home. It was yet another example of the outstanding hitting prowess of the two players and a testament to their hunger for a possible playoff push.

In the fourth and fifth innings, Brown began to really settle into a groove, only allowing one hit. By the bottom of the fifth, almost every fan could tell that the Cardinals were ripe for a rally and sensed some urgency among the coaches and players alike. Collins-Pisano stepped up into the batter’s box to start the inning, promptly whacking a line drive straight into the left-center field wall off the first pitch. Her speed got her all the way to third base and Secaira-Cotto delivered a ground-ball single right up the middle to score both runners after a HBP. Wesleyan went up 4–2 and Brown continued their dominance, pitching a complete game and sealing the win for the Cardinals through the last two innings. 

Wesleyan only has four more games left in the season, three of which come against division rival Amherst College. To make the NESCAC playoffs, Wesleyan must finish with a record better than or tied with Hamilton, since they are both in the same division of the NESCAC. Wesleyan sits at 4–5 in the conference and Hamilton is now 2–7. Both teams play on Friday. If Hamilton loses to Williams or Wesleyan beats Amherst, the Cardinals will punch their playoff ticket. Coach Lane, however, isn’t taking anything for granted and is still taking it one game at a time. 

“Like I said before we still have to secure a spot this upcoming weekend,” Lane said. “And right now our focus is on that. We have Saint Joe’s on Wednesday and then we finish up conference play over the weekend with Amherst.” 

While Wesleyan hasn’t clinched anything yet, their two wins over Hamilton were vitally important to their season. The Cardinals have the pitching expertise, hitting prowess, and team spirit necessary to beat any team in the NESCAC. For these reasons, I expect their season to extend a lot further into May. 

Lewis Woloch can be reached at lwoloch@wesleyan.edu. 

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