At the sound of the ball meeting the bat, the whole crowd knew that the pitch was crushed and had a fair chance of getting over the fence. As the ball soared through the air, it was as if Mother Nature was blowing wind so hard across the field that the ball might just curve foul.
As the rest of the Springfield College softball team looked on, pleading, begging and waving their hands in the air, hoping for the ball to stay fair, senior infielder Kasey Kelly had already turned her sprint to first base into a slightly slower home run jog.
The umpires made the signal, and the Pride rushed out of the dugout to meet Kelly at home plate, for she had just crushed a three-run home run, giving Springfield a comfortable 7-0 lead. The Pride would utilize the NCAA’s mercy rule and went on to win 8-0 over No. 16 Western Connecticut in the second game of a doubleheader at Potter Field Wednesday evening.
West Connecticut won game one 5-1. With the split, the Pride improve their record to 9-8 overall (2-2 NEWMAC).
Yesterday evening’s match-up with the Colonials proved to be similar to their bout last season. Much like in 2011, the Pride and the Colonials split a doubleheader in which then-freshman Ashley Marino pitched a nine-hit shutout in the nightcap.
Marino, who ended this evening’s five-inning game with three strikeouts and no runs allowed, once again proved to be untouchable coming off a near-perfect game vs. Clark last week. Marino is now 5-4 on the year.
At the plate, the Pride were led over the course of the doubleheader by sophomore outfielder Ally Rivelli, who went 3-of-4 and reached base all but one time she batted.
The one time she was denied access to the base path was due to a sacrifice RBI that gave Springfield their eighth run in the second game, which allowed the Pride to have the mercy rule put into effect.
Junior Chelsea Bender also had a strong game with a solo home run in the first game. She then went 2-for-3 with two singles in the second match-up, while also reaching on an error in her last at-bat.
In the first game, Western Connecticut’s offense exploded in the top of the fifth inning.
Pride sophomore pitcher Jennifer Joseph saw her 1-0 deficit increase by four runs after allowing a two-RBI double from Colonial junior Danielle Basciano, followed by RBI singles from senior Jackie Zilnicki and junior Alison Russo.
The loss brings Joseph’s record to 4-2 after she allowed nine hits and four earned runs.
The Pride will look to build off this successful day against NEWMAC opponent WPI this Friday at 3 p.m and 5 p.m. at Potter Field.
Jon Santer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org