By Tyler Browne
The Springfield College softball team swept both sides of their season-opening doubleheader against the WPI Engineers on Saturday afternoon. The Pride were led to victory by first-year pitcher Emily Gell, who appeared in both games, pitching 3.1 innings in relief in the first game and then pitched a complete game in the second. Both games ended in a score of 4-1.
“It was the plan for her to come in and relieve the first game and then we were going to let her go as long as she could in the second,” said coach Kate Bowen.
The second game began slowly, with no score through the first two and a half innings. In the bottom of the third inning, Alli Olsen led things off with a single, before advancing to second on a single by Mackenzie Doyle. Later in the inning, Olsen scored the Pride’s first run on a groundout by Ava Fernandez.
The Pride’s offense came to life in the next inning, as catcher Kayla Stvan led off with a single, and was replaced by pinch runner Maggie Britt. Britt scored on a double by Gell, who quickly scored as well when Olsen tripled. By the end of the inning, the Pride had a commanding 4-0 lead.
“We came in with a gameplan of taking quality at bats. It’s been seven weeks of us facing our own pitchers. It was so great to see new pitchers and we just followed the game plan,” said Bowen.
For a team that hadn’t played a game in over a year, the Pride looked strong, both offensively and defensively. While the offense was highly productive in both games, the Pride’s defense was a huge factor in their victories. Over 14 innings, the Pride needed only two pitchers and gave up just two runs. The Pride also made just one error in two games, in the third inning of the first game.
Gell looked strong in her collegiate debut, coming into the first game late in the fourth inning and staying in the circle for the rest of the afternoon. The first year only gave up one run, when WPI’s Bella Sheeran scored in the sixth inning of the second game.
After the game, Gell was extremely thankful for her teammates and all of their support.
“Having the team behind me, they’re such a great support system, I knew they were going to have my back the entire time…It’s just one big family and that’s how we’re able to do what we do,” said Gell.
Bowen echoed Gell’s statement about the Pride being a family.
“Having so much practice over this year, we have just gelled as a family. We’re really together, we’re playing as a family. We want to win,” said Bowen.
Gell was also grateful for the opportunity to play at all in 2021, especially as this semester started without any word on the possibility of a NEWMAC season.
“I know a lot of schools don’t have the opportunity to do what we’re doing right now and I’m just grateful,” said Gell.
The Pride will return to action on April 3rd when they will travel to Wheaton College for a doubleheader.