The Goshen College softball team kicked off their season last Friday with a double-header in Brighton, Michigan.The Leafs’ day was marked with fast pitchers and hard hitters. They first competed against Concordia University of Michigan, which defeated the Leafs in a 8-0 shutout. The second game yielded similar results, with the Leafs falling to Lawrence Tech University (LTU) 4-0.
In the first matchup against Concordia, GC’s freshman starter Esme Pico struck out the final batter of the first inning, keeping the game scoreless going into the second. Concordia rebounded quickly, though, scoring two in the inning.
Another source of trouble was Concordia pitcher Paige Anderson, who struck out five to pair with the Maple Leafs’ two flyouts and eight groundouts. The Leafs’ first and only hit came in the second inning when junior Kyra Wilson hit a leadoff single into left field.
The third inning saw no runners from either team, but Concordia took an even bigger lead in the fourth when they batted in five runs, leaving GC down seven.
The Leafs couldn’t score in the next inning and Concordia sealed their win in the bottom of the fifth when a one-out single wrapped up the game under mercy rule.
The afternoon didn’t fare much better for the Leafs, as they faced another strong pitching and batting matchup with LTU.
GC had four hits throughout the game, all of which were singles. Two of them were provided by sophomore shortstop Carissa Fillingame, with juniors Alyssa McDonald and Mckenzie Richardson snagging one hit each.
The Leafs were unable to score a single run against LTU pitcher Clover Brandt, who threw 12 strikeouts. In the first inning, LTU scored one run, but fell short of anything more after Alisyn Catenacci struck out two batters in a row to end the inning.
Their offense stalled the next two innings, and it wasn’t until the fourth that the team was able to score two more runs, and a final run in the fifth, leaving the Leafs at a four-run deficit. No more runners reached home for the rest of the game.
After returning, the team got an opportunity to compete at home with two games scheduled for Feb. 14 against Indiana University South Bend (IUSB). These games were scheduled last-minute.
GC won their first game against the Titans 6-5 in an extra-inning thriller. After IUSB scored once in the top of the first, a series of errors and a bases-loaded walk drawn by Fillingame gave the Leafs a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second. The Titans tied the match up in the third, but a throwing error on another Fillingame base hit saw the Leafs take a 4-2 lead in the fourth.
The score remained stagnant until the seventh inning, when the Titans took a one-run lead on a two-run homer by Kaylee Darnell and an RBI double by Olivia Zarantonello.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the Leafs down to their last out and pitcher Esme Pico on first, an Ella McLeod single to right-center field and another IUSB error sent Pico racing to home and tied the game 5-5.
With a ghost runner placed on second base to start the eighth inning, Pico sent the next three batters straight back to the dugout to give the Leafs a chance to win.
Kaylee Kates was GC’s runner starting on second to start their side of the eighth, and she moved up to third on a leadoff sacrifice bunt by Wilson.
Then Grace Schmitt stepped to the plate -— and promptly hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Kates and walking off the game.
The second game was a slugfest. After just two and a half innings, the score was 11-9 IUSB, with the Leafs’ largest highlight being a grand slam by Alisyn Catenacci in the bottom of the second. However, in the bottom of the third, the game was suspended due to rain and will be resumed at a later date.
The Leafs now take a break from competition for two weeks before traveling to Melbourne, Florida over spring break, where they will compete against 10 teams in five days.