By Shanna O’Mara
The softball team was swept in a doubleheader by Fairfield on April 18, 4-3 and 6-4, respectively.
The Broncs (10-28, 4-8 MAAC) kept Fairfield off the scoreboard for the first two innings with sophomore pitcher Delany DeMello continuously striking out batters.
“You never know what to expect in this conference,” said DeMello. “But I know we can compete with anyone. I just have to do the best I can and trust that my defense is working behind me.”
The Stags made a move in the bottom of the third inning with two runs on four hits. The Broncs looked for a comeback in the top of the fourth with an RBI single by junior third baseman Emily Cottrell. Freshman outfielder Monica Clark smashed a two-run RBI single into left field during the fifth inning to tie the score, but Fairfield scored again in the fifth.
During the seventh inning, Fairfield got a double with a hit to centerfield, a single on a Rider error and a sacrifice fly, allowing another runner in, leaving the final score at 4-3.
DeMello recognized the frustration of being so close to a win, saying: “We are always right there — one run, two runs.”
During the second game, the Broncs had the will to win, but the Stags played aggressively and ultimately took the victory.
Scoring on the second at-bat on a Rider error, Fairfield immediately took the lead. However, Rider came back during the second with two runs on two hits, including a homerun by senior catcher Allysen Breeden. They also scored during the third with an RBI single by senior shortstop Gina McCool.
Fairfield made a huge comeback during the sixth inning with sophomore pitcher Megan McDonough giving up four runs on four hits. DeMello was called back into the game but had already seen the damage done. “We need to start scoring runs earlier in the game and holding off the other team,” said DeMello.
Sophomore outfielder Josettee Spencer had several impressive catches in center field throughout both games. “[Josettee] played great all day,” said Carroll.
During the second game, junior pitcher Montana Berg had two of Rider’s seven hits. Carroll insists that she is fair when choosing the starting line-up, showcasing hard-working players’ talent. “My philosophy has always been: We’re going to put the best nine bats in,” she said. “[Montana] is saying ‘I want to be in this line-up,’ and she’s doing her part.”
The Broncs scored once more during the seventh with an RBI single by junior first baseman Dana Sensi, but the Stags were still ahead and won by a score of 6-4.
Carroll expressed disappointment with the day’s outcome. “It’s frustrating because this team is good,” she said. “We had great games last week against Manhattan and just fell short. We had great games today and just fell short.”
On April 11, the Broncs played Manhattan in Riverdale, New York. Rider was beaten 2-0 in the first game then 3-2 in the second.
Starting pitcher DeMello won’t let past upsets diminish her hope for upcoming games. “We have been so close in these games, so tomorrow we just need to focus on our hitting and our defense,” she said. “Everything needs to come together, and then we can win.”
Carroll, too, believes the women are capable of a win. “There are a couple positions where we’re not getting offensive production, and it’s hurting us, but we’re going to come out tomorrow and fight,” she said.
And fight they did. The Broncs managed to split the rivalry doubleheader at Saint Peter’s (3-28, 1-13 MAAC) on April 19, losing the first game 12-8 and winning 9-2 in the second game.
During the first inning of the first game, senior outfielder Amanda Irving hit a homerun to left field for the Broncs, but the Peacocks scored two runs on two hits including a two-run homer over the wall.
The strong hitting streak continued during the second inning with three Rider runs on five hits, with freshman utility player Morgan DiVello, Berg and Irving reaching home plate.
Saint Peter’s scored once more in the second inning, three times in the fourth, four in the fifth and twice in sixth, leaving Rider in a tough spot for game one. DeMello homered to left field in the fifth inning, and Cottrell did the same in the sixth, along with two additional runs, but it was not enough to defeat the Peacocks.
During the second game, McDonough recorded a career-high eight strikeouts while allowing only four walks and two Saint Peter’s runs throughout the entire game.
Although the Peacocks tried to gain the lead with a run in the first, the Broncs fired back with four runs on three hits and a Saint Peter’s error during the third. McCool stepped to the plate with bases loaded and singled up the middle, allowing two runs in. Cottrell scored on McDonough’s RBI, and Berg later singled to right field, allowing McCool to score.
The score remained the same until the top of the sixth inning when Rider scored one run on one hit, sophomore catcher Morgan Benedetti ultimately rounding the plate. The Peacocks scored just once in the bottom of the sixth, but the Broncs took no mercy, scoring four more runs during the seventh, leaving the final score at 9-2.
McCool had three of Rider’s 11 hits, and Berg and Breeden each had two. Cottrell had the hottest day, scoring two of the Bronc’s nine runs.
Rider hosted a doubleheader against Columbia on April 21, coming back from a 3-2 loss in the first game to dominate during the second, defeating the lions 9-3.
Despite two RBIs by Sensi and Breeden, the Broncs couldn’t overcome Columbia’s three runs on 10 hits.
However, game two saw better performances by the Broncs with five RBIs by Sensi, three by Breeden and one by junior infielder Kim Valdes. Freshman pitcher Jayme Zeilman allowed 12 hits but only three Columbia runs while Rider had nine runs on nine hits.