Despite a strong start opening their 2018 campaign with a record 3-1 at the Virginia Wesleyan Beach Blast, the Hawks look to rebound from their performance in Clermont, Florida after suffering seven losses this past week.
The Hawks opened up the week with a game against Manchester University on March 18 at 2 p.m. Strong first and fourth innings put the Hawks on top early, scoring four in the first and three in the fourth putting them at a 7-1 advantage entering the fifth inning.
Manchester added three of their own in the fifth narrowing the deficit to only three runs. An RBI double by third-year catcher Madison Rappold gave the Hawks an insurance run, taking an 8-4 lead into the seventh inning.
The wheels came off for the Hawks in the top of the seventh, when they gave up eight straight runs to Manchester. They would eventually fall by a final score of 12-8.
The Hawks went on to lose their next four games to Hamilton College, Bowdoin College, Calvin College and Washington and Jefferson College by scores of 0-7, 1-3, 0-1 and 3-4 respectively.
“All teams face adversity and last week down in Florida was the biggest test our team has experienced,” said Hawks head coach Samantha Miller. “Firstly, being dealt a very difficult schedule and then experiencing the injuries of impact players, that pushed us both emotionally and physically.”
However, the Hawks did not back down and won three of their last five games in the sunshine state.
The Hawks triumphed in a 3-2 victory over St. Lawrence University on March 21 thanks to a big second inning led by second-year outfielder Julia Dispigna and second-year second baseman Caroline Alicandri who collected a two-RBI single and an RBI single respectively. Second-year pitcher Alyssa Pfitscher also had a solid performance, pitching seven innings, giving up only one earned run on just four hits.
The following day, March 22, the Hawks escaped with a 4-3 victory over Worcester State University.
The Hawks took the lead in the first inning thanks to a SAC fly by fourth-year pitcher/first baseman Lauren Cappello. They extended their lead to 2-0 in the second on an RBI single by first-year second baseman/outfielder Katie Conrad.
An RBI single by Hawks third-year second baseman Shannon Fee, followed by a RBI groundout by Rappold in the top of the seventh inning extended the Hawks lead to 4-1. Worcester State battled back, however, cutting the score to 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh.
With a runner on third and two outs, Pfitscher got Worcester State’s second-year infielder Ashley Lynch to pop out, securing the victory for the Hawks.
Starting pitcher Lauren Cappello was solid in this one, throwing 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits.
After two more losses to Hope College on March 22 and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on March 23, by scores of 1-14 and 0-11 respectively, the Hawks closed out their Florida trip with an impressive 2-1 victory over Tufts University.
Tufts got on the board first with an RBI single by first-year infielder Emma Della Volpe in the top of the third inning, putting them on top 1-0. That would be their only run, as Cappello tossed eight innings of one-run ball.
The game remained that score until the seventh inning where fourth-year outfielder Julia Perhacs reached on an error, advancing to second. The Hawks were able to piece together a run via some small ball; first-year catcher Heather Ehman bunted Perhacs over to third, and later scored on a SAC fly by fourth-year outfielder Danielle Bruno, taking the 1-1 score into the bottom of the eighth inning.
Yet another error by Tufts placed second-year catcher/third baseman Michaela Damore on third base with one out. The Hawks were able to take advantage and fourth-year outfielder Taylor Leonette followed up with a clutch with a walk-off single, carrying the Hawks to a 2-1 victory.
Leonette hopes to use the team’s victory over Tufts as a model for future games.
“We need to make sure that we are getting timely hits, meaning we can’t keep leaving people on base,” she said. “We also need to take advantage of other teams mistakes by taking extra bases. Both of these things are going to allow us to get more runs on the board and ultimately win us some games.”
She added that facing a tough schedule in the midst of several injuries largely contributed to the team’s recent struggles.
Although the week didn’t go as well as she would have liked, Miller feels the team was able to learn from this experience.
“When facing high quality teams like we did in Florida, I asked the girls to be spectators of the game,” she said. “When facing teams like that, you need to learn from them.”