By Ryan Connelly
Within the last five years, the softball team only broke 10 wins once, in 2015 when they went 12-35. With another rough start to this season, Rider is sitting at 2-13 overall.
The Broncs are currently on a seven-game losing streak. Despite coming off a 5-4 win against St. Bonaventure on March 4, the momentum wasn’t enough. Rider played five different schools in Clearwater, Florida, from March 9 to 11 and lost five straight games.
“We need to be more confident in the team as a whole,” said sophomore catcher Shelby Miller. “We’re so close to winning games and I know we can come out on top, we just need to believe it.”
The five-game stretch began against Northern Kentucky. Rider was defeated in a close game, 5-3. The home team got off to a quick start, scoring two runs in both the first and second innings.
In the top of the third, the Broncs let the Norse score again, but quickly answered back with a run of their own during the bottom of the inning.
After the third, Rider didn’t let up another run for the rest of the game, but its offense couldn’t keep up the damage already done, ending in a loss for the Broncs through seven innings.
The second game was part of a doubleheader. After the Broncs played Northern Kentucky, they went on to face Central Connecticut State. In this eight-inning game, Rider was only one run away from the win but still fell, 3-2. This was a slower game with little offensive action.
The Broncs started things off with a run in the top of the first. It wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Blue Devils scored a run of their own, tying the score at one. In the top of the sixth, Rider took the lead again, making it 2-1. However, the Broncs couldn’t keep it together during the last two innings, letting the opponent score in the seventh and allowing a walkoff in the eighth.
Rider took on Southern Illinois on March 10. Although it was only a five-inning game, it was enough for Illinois to put in work. The final score was 10-0. The Salukis scored four runs in the second inning and six in the third.
After coming off a rough loss, Rider was fired up. The Broncs scored 11 runs against of Tennessee, Chattanooga on March 10, but unfortunately, they were one short and lost 12-11. The bats were hot for both teams during this game.
During the first inning, the Broncs scored a run, but the Mocs answered back with four. There was no action in the second, but in the third, each team scored a run, making it 5-2 in favor of the Mocs. During the fourth inning, Tennessee scored another three runs, extending its lead. In the fifth, Rider showed its team was not done fighting, scoring four runs while holding Tennessee to only one.
Going into the sixth, the Mocs had a 9-6 lead. Rider couldn’t keep them from scoring; Tennessee scored three more runs. Trying to complete a clutch comeback, the Broncs scored five times in the top of the seventh inning but fell short, losing the game by one.
“We were not ready to play today and it caused us to fall behind early,” said Head Coach Davon Ortega. “Tomorrow is a new day and hopefully our offense shows up ready to go.”
The fifth and final game of the series was against Western Michigan, which was another pitchers’ duel. Rider lost 2-1.
Even though this has been a rough season for the Broncs, a couple of players are still being noticed. Freshman infielder Payton Romines won MAAC Rookie of The Week, and junior outfielder Amanda Jordan won MAAC Player of The Week.
The Broncs are looking to snap their losing streak against Villanova at home on March 22 at 2:30 p.m.