“Break it open on three. One… two… three… BREAK IT OPEN.” These words echoed to each corner of Potter Field as Springfield traded their gloves for bats and entered the dugout in the bottom of the first inning. And break it open they did.
The Pride struck early when a pair of RBI singles put them on the board, sparking an eventual 8-0 win against sixth-seeded Wellesley College. This was the second-seeded Springfield’s first game and first victory in the NEWMAC Championship, advancing them to a battle with fourth-seeded Babson College on Saturday at 5 p.m. at WPI.
Talia Loda was unbreakable in the circle, shutting out the Blue and limiting them to just four hits through six innings before the mercy rule was put into effect. Kirsten Drobiak also stayed electric at the plate, rocketing her sixth homerun of the season, while Carianna Gasdia went 3-3 on the day.
The freshmen class was well-represented, as it was newcomers Jen Slane and Alexyss Conley who started things off initially for the Pride with one RBI single a piece. This gave Springfield a strong start right out of the gate, and the momentum to keep things rolling into the third inning when Drobiak sent a ball over the right field fence to tack on another pair of runs, giving the Pride a comfortable 4-0 lead.
However, true to the relentless mentality that they upheld throughout the regular season, Springfield wasn’t yet satisfied. They’d found their groove with Wellesley’s relief pitcher and thus, the hits kept coming.
Things heated up in the bottom of the sixth when Gasdia scored on a Drobiak single, Drobiak then crossing the plate due to an error by Wellesley’s captain of the infield. The hit parade continued when Sam Cox picked up an RBI single of her own, improving the tally to 7-0. Following that, junior infielder Kayla Padroff stepped to the plate and finished things up, sending a ball between the third baseman and shortstop and into left field, scoring Conley and putting the mercy rule into effect.
Coach Kate Bowen could not have been more pleased with the outcome or more proud of her players, and shared something they’d focused on during their pregame discussion.
“There was a quote we’d talked about: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ I told them that to make this successful, we’re going to have to do it as a team,” said Bowen. “We have to keep playing Springfield College softball – stay together, keep the energy, everybody hits. We made team goals and it just really refocused us. I’m proud to see all their hard work paying off.”
Springfield plans on keeping that energy and comradery in tact when they face Babson tomorrow in hopes in carrying on to the NEWMAC Championship game on Saturday, May 6.