April 6, 2009

The Panther softball team had a busy week with seven games, including three NESCAC West league games at Wesleyan. The Panthers picked up a pair of non-league wins over visiting Skidmore on Tuesday, beating the Thoroughbreds 3-1 in game one and 7-6 in eight innings in the night cap. Middlebury then took two from in-state foe Castleton on Thursday.

In game one against Skidmore, Middlebury scored all three runs in the first inning, while starting pitcher sophomore Geena Constantin (Pelham, N.H.) kept Skidmore at bay, tying a school mark in strike-outs with 15. In the home half of the first, Constantin helped her cause with an RBI single, plating sophomore Leslie Crawford (Mount Vernon, Wash.). Senior Natalie Komrovsky (Independence, Ohio) capped the scoring with a two out, two RBI single for the 3-0 lead. The lone scoring blemish for Constantin was a second inning lead-off homer by Skidmore's Caitlin Ketcham.

Senior Amelia Magistrali (Torrington, Conn.) led Middlebury, going 2-3 with a run scored, as Komrovsky added two RBI and Constantin chipped in another RBI. Constantin (3-1) was dominant in the circle, striking out 15, allowing three hits and one run over seven innings for the complete game win. Her 15 strike-out performance tied the all-time Panther mark set by Megan McCarthy in 2005.

Cross started game two for Skidmore, holding the Panthers at bay as the Thoroughbreds built a 5-0 lead through six innings. Skidmore exploded for four runs in the third, including a towering three-run home run by Lauren Dinsdale deep to left. The Thoroughbreds added another in the fifth before Middlebury tied the game at five apiece in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. All the Panther runs were scored with two outs in the frame. Amelia Magistrali doubled home two runs as sophomore Megan Margel's (Ridgewood, N.J.) single moved Magistrali to third. Constantin, the DH in game two, plated Magistrali on a shot to centerfield that was mishandled, cutting the lead to 5-3. Komrovsky tied the game with a two-run single to right field.

In the top of the eighth, with the international tie-break rule in play, Derrin Jarvis plated Jamie Rubin from second base to start the inning. After another single, Panther reliever Ali McAnaney (Northbrook, Ill.) shut down the next three batters. With Middlebury trailing 6-5, rookie Alyson Downing (Rumney, N.H.) advanced to third on a wild pitch and later scored the tying run on a shot to right field by first-year player Kira Gordon (Scarborough, Maine) that was also mishandled. Junior Sophie Dorot (Potomac, Md.) ended the game on a long single to right, plating Gordon from second base.

Crawford led Middlebury from the plate, going 3-4 with a run scored, as Magistrali and Komrovsky each added a pair of RBI. First-year pitcher Ashley Higgins (Ridgefield, Conn.) started for Middlebury, giving up four runs, none earned, over four innings. McAnaney (3-3) relieved Higgins in the fifth, giving up two runs, both unearned, and striking out six over four innings for the win.

Middlebury swept its second doubleheader in as many days as the Panthers took two from Castleton, 7-1 and 9-7. Middlebury plated four runs in the top of the first inning, added one more in the fourth and two in the sixth to give McAnaney plenty of run support in the complete-game win. McAnaney allowed just one unearned run on six hits and one walk, while striking out three in the win.

Sophomore Emily Burbridge (E. Greenwich, R.I.) started the game with a double to the right-centerfield gap, was sacrificed to third and later scored on Margel's single to center. After Constantin singled up the middle, junior Kristin Maletsky (Kinnelon, N.J.) drove a two-run double to left field, quickly making it 3-0.

Castleton got a single run back in the third, when Amanda Gerstenmaier reached on an error, moved to second on Alicia Zraunig's single and scored on a single through the right side by Lydia McPerson.

Downing doubled and scored on an error for Middlebury in the fifth, and singled and scored on Magistrali's two-run single in the sixth. Constantin also collected a pair of hits, as did Burbridge.

In game two, Komrovsky drove in three runs, tripling with the bases loaded and two outs, to key a five-run first inning as Middlebury improved to 8-6 on the season. The Panthers added four unearned runs in the fifth to emerge with the sweep. Komrovsky came up with Maletsky (walk) on third, sophomore Kelsey Chisholm (Lynnfield, Mass.) (single) on second and Sophie Dorot (walk) on first and crushed it to the right-centerfield gap, clearing the bases.

Castleton answered with two runs in the bottom of the first and three more in the third to tie the score at 5-5. Alicia Zraunig singled to centerfield and came home on Bridget Dusha's triple to right. Shannon Jipner then singled Dusha home. In the third, Jipner doubled home Lydia McPherson who had doubled to start the inning. Jipner would later score on an error to tie the game.

Castleton grabbed a 7-5 lead in the fourth inning as Zraunig and McPherson each reached on one-out singles and were moved around by a pair of wild pitches, scoring Zraunig and putting McPherson on third. McPherson later scored on Jipner's grounder to third.

Middlebury answered with four unearned runs in the top of the fifth, and after holding Castleton scoreless, the game was called in the top of the sixth with two on and two outs due to darkness.

Sophomore Nellie Wood (Hampden, Maine) provided the big hit in the inning, a two-run homerun to right-centerfield that broke a 7-7 tie and earned the win. McAnaney picked up the win in relief for Middlebury, pitching the final inning-and-two-thirds, and allowing one run on two hits and two strikeouts.

Middlebury dropped a pair of NESCAC West games on Saturday as the Panthers fell 4-0 and 4-3 at Wesleyan. Wesleyan was led in game one by a four-hit shutout from Meaghan Dendy, who also homered, as did Molly O'Connell in the first inning. In the nightcap, Wesleyan rallied from a 3-0 deficit and eventually won the game, 4-3, on Taylor Zavadsky's bloop single in the bottom of the 7th.

Middlebury broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning of game two by recording five of their six hits during the frame with Constantin pounding a RBI double, followed by RBI singles from Downing and Wood. Wesleyan got a pair back in the bottom of the fourth when Zavadsky singled and moved to third on a double by Talia Bernstein. When the throw from the outfield went out of play, both runners advanced, giving Wesleyan a run. Anu Rimal then brought in the second Cardinal run with a single.

In the seventh, Wesleyan got a one-out single from Chrissy Bello, before she was sacrificed to second. Lily Thalheimer pinch-ran for Bello with two outs and scored on a single by Dendy. Dendy moved to second when O'Connell walked and scored the winning run on a bloop single to left by Zavadsky.

Wesleyan began game one with a three-run outburst in the bottom of the first inning of game one. Dendy led off with a home run to center field, her first of the year. O'Connell then did the same to spot the host a 2-0 edge. After a walk and a single, Alexis Kral came through with an RBI hit to cap the inning. She also had an RBI single in the fifth to bring in Wesleyan's final run. Dendy allowed four hits in the contest with six strikeouts. Three of those Panther hits came off the bat of Maletsky, two of them doubles.

Middlebury saw Wesleyan complete a three-game sweep as the Panthers fell 8-2 in Connecticut in the final game of a three-game series. Cardinal pitcher Anu Rimal made the most of her first pitching appearance of the season by throwing a five-hit, complete-game victory. Rimal, who started five games in 2008 with one complete game, did not allow an earned run in posting her first career victory. She yielded five hits and struck out seven.

Both Middlebury runs came during the fifth inning when a bit of confusion in the Wesleyan outfield led to a ball being dropped to start the frame. Wesleyan already had a 5-0 lead at the time. Wesleyan got two in the first when Molly O'Connell blasted her ninth career home run. Wesleyan scored another run in the inning on a walk, a single and the first of three singles by Rimal. When a relay throw got away and went into the Middlebury dugout, Wesleyan picked up an unearned run. The Cardinals made it 4-0 in the third on RBI singles by Rimal and Chrissy Bello. It was 5-0 in the fourth when Meaghan Dendy, scored on a groundout by Talia Bernstein.

Middlebury got an RBI single by Crawford and a run-scoring groundout by Magistrali to cut the lead to 5-2 in the fifth. Wesleyan got the runs right back in the bottom of the inning with Mel Kasulis stroking a two-run single to right. The final Wesleyan run came from Bello, who knocked in her second run of the game with a single up the middle. She, like Rimal, had three hits in the game as Wesleyan collected 14 hits off three Panther pitchers. Nellie Wood led the Panthers with two singles and scored a run.
. Softball record: 9-9
. Up next: 4/7 vs. Rensselaer (2) - 3:00, 4/10 @ Hamilton, 4/11 @ Hamilton (2)