While some Goshen students were stuck with winter weather last week, the Maple Leaf softball team spent their spring break out west as they played eight games in California before ending their sunny road trip in Arizona where they took on Benedictine University in a four game series.

In the first game of the series, the Maple Leafs started out hot, recording three runs in the top of the first inning on a three RBI triple from sophomore Ri Koteles. However, the Redhawks would answer with a pair of runs in the latter half of the inning.

The Leafs didn’t stop there, as they scored another run in the second and two more in the third stretching their lead to 6-2.

After a blur of runs in the first three innings, sophomore pitcher Leah Herrman settled in and retired eight straight, shutting down Benedictine in innings 2-6. With an inning to play, the Leafs were holding onto their four run lead. Then, madness ensued.

After a walk and an RBI double, Benedictine had life, down three with no outs. Koteles then retired the first Redhawk after throwing out a runner attempting to steal third base.

However, outs were hard to come by after that as the Redhawks strung together three hits in a row to draw within one run before grounding into the second out. With a runner on second and third, the Redhawks were down to their last out.

Lynzee Bollinger then ended the nail biter with a walk-off double down the left field line, scoring the winning two runs as Benedictine took the first game, 7-6.

In the second matchup, the Leafs bats came out on fire as they looked to avenge their opening loss. Seven different Maple Leafs had RBIs in the second game, all led by junior Katherine Boyer as she went 4-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Junior Emily Cummings pitched a strong six innings giving up just one run on four hits and striking out four batters. In addition, she helped her own cause at the plate as she went 3-5 with four RBIs and ended just a home run off of the cycle.

All together, the Leafs scored a season-high 14 runs, winning the second game by a score of 14-7.

The following day, both teams took back to the field as they were set to resume play in the smoldering Arizona heat. The Maple Leafs carried momentum from the previous day as they continued to swing the bats well, scoring 12 runs in the first of two games on Saturday.

Once again, the Leafs were led by Cummings’ arm and bat as she went the full seven innings, striking out five and earning her second win of the series thanks in large part to her four hits and six RBIs.

First-year Edith Vega had herself a game as well, tallying three hits and scoring three runs for the Maple Leafs as they out-hit the Redhawks, taking the third game, 12-9.

In the fourth and final game of the series, neither team wanted to be on the losing side as they needed an extra inning to decide the victor.

At the end of seven, the two high-powered offenses found themselves deadlocked at eight runs apiece. But an extra inning of warm weather was all the Maple Leafs wanted, as they exploded for seven runs in the eighth behind RBI singles from Koteles, Cummings, senior Taylor Sutliff, first-year Madison Matthews before Herrman unloaded a two-run bomb over the left field fence.

The Redhawks would score two of their own in the bottom of the eighth, but it wasn’t enough as Goshen won the game, 15-10, and the series, 3-1.

Next up for the Maple Leafs is back-to-back home double headers as they take on Huntington University on Friday, March 15 and the University of Saint Francis on Saturday, March 16.