April 1, 2013

The Middlebury softball team opened up its season with a 12-3 win over Western Connecticut in a game played in Clermont, Florida. The Panthers struck for six runs in the first inning and added four in the fourth on their way to the win. First-year pitcher Kat Maehr (Sayville, N.Y.) earned the win in her collegiate debut, allowing three runs over four innings of work. Senior Sarah Boylan (Danvers, Mass.) went 2-3 with two doubles, three runs scored and three RBI in the win. Senior Emma Katz (Northridge, Calif.) was 2-2 with a double and four RBI, rookie Jackie Stern (Northfield, Ill.) had a 2-4 game, while junior Kimber Sable (Winnetka, Ill.) doubled.

Middlebury turned in a strong performance in game two, falling 6-5 to eighth-ranked Tufts. With the game tied at 4-4, the Jumbos scored solo runs in the fifth and seventh before holding off a Panther charge in the bottom of the seventh inning. Senior Jessa Hoffman (Golden, Colo.) went 3-4 with a double and two RBI in the game, while Sable was 2-3 with a double and two runs scored.

On day two, Middlebury gave up runs in five of six innings, falling 12-5 to Oberlin. Senior Jessica Poracky (Ramsey, N.J.) went 2-3 with a double and two RBI to pace the offense. The Panthers bounced back later that day, topping Grove City, 11-2. Junior Elizabeth Morris (Kenilworth, Ill.) earned the win with one earned run allowed in four innings of work. Middlebury scored six runs in the second inning of the game, holding a 9-0 lead early in the five-inning contest. Poracky went 2-2 with a double and two runs scored, while rookie Carlyn Vachow (St. Louis, Mo.) went 2-3 with a double, two runs scored and three RBI. Hoffman went 1-2 with three RBI, while Katz belted a double.

Middlebury got off to a great start on part two of its spring break trip, taking a 6-5 win over Colby and an 8-4 win over sixth-ranked Eastern Connecticut. The Panthers exploded for six runs in the third against Colby, holding off a five-run charge in the sixth by the Mules to secure the win. Vachow went 2-3 with a double, Hoffman was 2-4 with a triple, while Katz had a 2-3 game at the dish. Maehr earned the win in relief, while Morris picked up the save.

The Panthers jumped out to a 5-0 lead over E. Conn. on its way to the win. Sable went 3-4 in the game, while Hoffman was 2-3 with a triple. Morris picked up the complete game win.

Middlebury gave up four runs in the seventh and then one in the eighth as they dropped an extra inning affair to Union. Hoffman and Boylan both went 3-4 with a triple, while Vachow was 2-5 and sophomore Christina Bicks (Ridgewood, N.J.) doubled.

The Panthers gave up seven runs in the third inning, dropping a 10-1 game to Luther in five innings. Hoffman went 2-2 in the game with a double, while Poracky also doubled.

Middlebury opened up a 6-2 game with five runs in the seventh on its way to an 11-3 win over Elmhurst. Morris earned the win with five innings of work. Stern finished the game 3-5 with two runs scored and three RBI, while Hoffman was 3-4 with two scored and two driven in. Junior Emily Kraytenberg (Londonderry, N.H.) doubled in her 2-3 effort, driving in a pair with two runs scored. Junior Alex Scibetta (Ridgewood, N.J.) also had a pair of hits in the game.

The Panthers dropped their final game of the trip, falling 9-0 to Wisconsin-Whitewater in six innings. Poracky finished 2-3 in the game, while four other Middlebury players singled.

Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the seventh against Amherst, Middlebury rallied to score three runs, but stranded the tying runner on third in a 4-3 home-opening loss. Despite the setback, Hoffman had a huge day for Middlebury, going 4-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI.

Amherst broke open a scoreless game in the third with two runs during a two-out rally. A pair of infield singles brought left-handed hitting Donna Leet to the plate. Leet took a low offering from Morris and launched it to the base of the centerfield wall for a two-RBI, stand-up triple.

The Jeffs added two key insurance runs in the final frame with another two-out rally. After Ashleigh Rutherford reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch,  Kelsey Ayers knocked her in with an RBI single to left, advancing to second on the throw home. With first base open, Morris walked Kaitlin Silkowitz, bringing Leet to the plate. Leet punched a single to center, scoring Ayers, but Leet was put out trying to advance to second.

Trailing 4-0, Middlebury opened the seventh with a double by Boylan. A one-out single by Katz  pushed sophomore pinch-runner Kelsey Martel (Concord, N.H.) to third. Sable followed with a SAC fly to center, scoring Martel, cutting the deficit to 4-1. After Stern drew a walk, moving Katz to second, Hoffman stepped in to face Kelley for the fourth time. Already 3-3 on the day, Hoffman slammed a double to centerfield for two RBI, setting the score at 4-3 in favor of the visitors. With Poracky at the plate, Kelley launched a wild pitch, allowing Hoffman to reach third. Kelley settled in, and on a 1-1 pitch, enticed a pop foul behind home plate where Ayers made the put out, ending the Panther comeback.

Hoffman’s 4-4, two doubles, and two RBI day at the dish raised her average to .526 on the young season, while Boylan’s double was the only other extra-base hit for the Panthers. Morris suffered her first loss, going seven innings, allowing four earned runs, while striking out four.

Leet’s 2-4 day including the triple and three RBI paced Amherst, while Ayers’ added three singles, two runs scored and an RBI. Kelley (7-0) allowed three earned runs, while striking out three, and chipped in with a single of her own.

Middlebury scored 21 runs on 23 hits on its way to a two-game sweep of Amherst (12-5, 1-2) in a NESCAC West twinbill on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers took game one 10-4, before earning an 11-3 walk-off win in the bottom of the sixth in game two. Middlebury (7-6, 2-1) takes the three-game series 2-1 after falling 4-3 in game one on Friday. Hoffman finished the three game series going 8-10 with three doubles, five runs scored and five RBI and is now hitting .545 on the season.

Middlebury struck for three unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning of game one. Hoffman plated Sable with an RBI single to left, while Vachow drove home a pair with a two-run triple to right.

The teams exchanged single runs in the fourth, before Amherst took a 4-3 lead with a three-run fifth. The big blow came from Reilly Horan, who tripled home a pair of runs with a blast to right field.

Middlebury battled back with a huge sixth inning, plating six runs on four hits. Sable drove in pinch-runner Bicks with a single up the middle to tie the game at 4-4. Later in the inning, Poracky belted a double to center, driving in three runs to put the Panthers up, 9-4. Vachow later singled in pinch-runner Martel to make it a 10-4 final.

Junior Alexa Lesenskyj (Robbinsville, N.J.) had a solid start for the Panthers, going 4.2 innings and allowing three runs on three hits. Morris picked up the win with 2.1 innings of one-hit relief. Sable went 3-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI. Vachow finished the game 2-4 with a triple and three runs driven in.

Arielle Doering suffered the loss, allowing eight runs, four earned, over 5.1 innings of work. Horan finished the game 2-3 with a double, triple, two runs scored and two RBI to pace the Jeffs.

A two-run line-drive homer to right by Donna Leet got Amherst off to a great start in the top of the first inning of game two. Middlebury answered in the bottom of the inning with three runs on four hits, including an RBI single from Hoffman and a run-scoring double by Poracky.

Middlebury had a great chance to open the game up in the third inning, but could only score one despite having the bases loaded with nobody out. Theresa Kelley got out of the jam, but was replaced in the fourth by Nicolette Miranda.

The Panthers jumped on Miranda in the fourth, scoring five runs on four hits with a pair of Amherst errors. Hoffman drove in  Sable with a single, while Poracky plated Hoffman with a double to right center. Boylan later tripled to center and scored on a throwing error, driving in Vachow for a 9-2 lead.

A triple from Kelsey Ayers led off the fifth for Amherst, as Kaitlin Silkowitz followed with a run-scoring single up the middle. Later in the inning with runners on first and second with one out, Carolyn Miller belted a ball into the gap and left center. Scibetta tracked down the shot and made a great diving catch to prevent a big inning for the Jeffs.

Middlebury ended the game on the eight-run rule in the sixth inning, making it an 11-3 final. Vachow scored pinch-runner Bicks with a SAC fly to center, before Boylan ended the game with a single to left, scoring Kraytenberg.

First-year pitcher Neve Stearns (Granby, Conn.) earned her first career win for Middlebury, allowing three runs and eight hits over five innings of work. Kelley suffered her first loss of the season for Amherst, giving up five runs on eight hits over three innings of work.

Poracky went 4-4 in the game with three doubles and two RBI, while Hoffman was 3-4 with a double, three runs scored and two RBI. Boylan finished 2-4 with a triple and three runs driven in, while Kraytenberg and Stern each had a pair of hits.

Leet went 2-3 with a homer and two RBI for Amherst, while Silkowitz had a 2-3 game.

• Softball record: 7-6

• Up next: 4/2 @ Castleton, 4/4 @ Union