Softball takes three of four in weekend tournament, improves to 17-4
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2013 19:03
Despite the best efforts of freshman right-handed reliever Kiersten Coffman, the Delaware softball team fell to Villanova University, 4-2, in the final game of the second annual University of Delaware Spring Invitational Sunday at Delaware Softball Stadium.
Head coach Jamie Wohlbach said even though the team fixed some issues during the game, it was too late for the Hens to come back from the deficit.
“I think we came out and played a good game despite the weather conditions, but we struggled a little bit at the plate,” Wohlbach said. “We made some adjustments, and we came up a little too short at the end of the game.”
The Hens came into the game with a 17-3 overall record. The team had already played St. Francis University of Pennsylvania before the Villanova game, winning 7-2. Senior pitcher Chenxi Jiao pitched out the last three innings to get the save.
In the first inning of the final game, freshman starting right-hander Taylor Curran gave up a single to the Wildcats’ shortstop Ali Lowe. Lowe would later come in on an errant throw by freshman right fielder Lisa Stacevicz, putting the Hens in a 1-0 hole. Delaware was able to get only one hit in the bottom of the first, when junior infielder Michelle McKinnon singled to left field.
In the top of the second, Villanova center fielder Shea Palmer was hit by a pitch, causing Wohlbach to come out of the dugout and argue with the home plate umpire that Palmer should have been called out for being outside the batter’s box. She said while the argument did not change the game’s outcome, it was a moral victory, even though Palmer was not ruled out.
“She was making contact way outside of the box, so if you’re making contact, that’s out of the box, the batter’s out on that,” Wohlbach said. “So that wasn’t the difference maker of the game, but you want those calls to go in your favor.”
Delaware was finally able to put a run on the board in the third, when senior third baseman Lara Andrews doubled to center field, and then McKinnon singled up the middle to bring the runner in to tie the game.
In the fourth, the Wildcats took the lead again when Palmer doubled to left field, allowing pinch runner Elise Samoy Alvarado to score to make it 2-1. Villanova opened a lead that it would not let go in the fifth, when Lowe and designated hitter Beth Smetana touched home to make it 4-1.
Delaware came out strong in the fifth when freshman center fielder Hannah George singled. Sophomore designated hitter Jessica Grisler got to first on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on an Andrews double and then scored when McKinnon grounded out at second.
George said she thought she played well, but her hitting could have been stronger.
“I think I did okay, there’s some things I could have done better, my bats could have been better, but overall, I did decent,” George said.
Curran was taken out for Coffman in the fifth. Coffman played a strong game, allowing five hits and no runs, but the offense did not help, getting on base three times in the last two innings.
Curran said she had to have more faith in herself on the mound and keep in mind her teammates were assisting her.
“I think I need to work on keeping my spins tighter and staying confident out there,” Curran said. “Because sometimes I get frazzled and I forget that I have my team behind me, but I know they’ll always be there for me and work hard for me. I just need to work on remembering that.”
With the CAA season starting on Saturday at Drexel, Wohlbach said the Hens have to keep gaining momentum if they want to continue to succeed.
“I think right now, we’re getting ready to break into the conference,” Wohlbach said. “We’re playing very well, we’re producing offense, our pitching’s coming in pretty strong. I just think we have to keep playing at one pitch at a time, execute the little things, because the little things become big scores by the end of the season.”