April 8, 2013

The Middlebury College softball team outscored Castleton 18-2 en route to a sweep of a doubleheader Tuesday at Spartan Field.  The Panthers earned a 10-2 win in five innings for a game one victory, picking up a 7-0 win in the nightcap.

Middlebury first-year pitcher Kat Maehr (Sayville, N.Y.) held the Spartans to just five hits, allowing two unearned runs and striking out six to earn the win. Emily Sweeney took the loss for Castleton, allowing seven earned runs on eleven hits, yielding four walks, while striking out two.

The Panthers scored in each of the five innings, beginning with an RBI single in the top of the first by senior Jessica Poracky (Ramsey, N.J.) that drove in junior Kimber Sable (Winnetka, Ill.) to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The squad followed with an unearned run in the top of the second, and three more tallies in the top of the third.

Middlebury rookie Carlyn Vachow (St. Louis, Mo.) knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth and came around to score on an error to put the Panthers up 7-0. In the fifth, senior Jessa Hoffman (Golden, Colo.) ripped a two-run single to center, and was driven in by Vachow on a sacrifice fly to extend their lead to 10-0.

The Spartans notched their only runs in the bottom of the fifth to break-up the shutout. Hoffman finished the game 3-4 with two runs scored and three RBI, while Vachow went 2-3 with three RBI, scoring twice. Poracky turned in the team’s other multiple hit effort, going 2-4.

In game two, the Spartans were held to just three hits as Middlebury junior Alexa Lesenskyj (Robbinsville, N.J.) and first-year pitcher Neve Stearns (Granby, Conn.) combined to pitch a shutout. The pair combined to allow just three hits on the day, as Lesenskyj struck out four and Stearns notched three.

The Panthers got on the board with a two-run home run by senior Sarah Boylan (Danvers, Mass.) in the top of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead. Castleton threatened in the bottom of the third inning, but couldn't muster any runs.

The visiting squad added to their lead in the fifth, when Vachow roped a double down the left line, driving in two runs. The next inning, the Panthers scored when Poracky popped an RBI double to center, and was driven in by junior Alex Scibetta (Ridgewood, N.J.) on a sacrifice fly to gain a 6-0 lead. Poracky earned another RBI on a single to left-center in the top of the seventh to put the Panthers up 7-0.

Poracky finished 2-3 with two runs scored and two driven in, while sophomore Christina Bicks (Ridgewood, N.J.) was 2-3.

Middlebury softball moved to 11-6 on the year with a two-game sweep at Union. The Panthers picked up a 7-1 win in game two, before needing just six innings to pick up a 10-2 victory in the second game. Hoffman tied the school record with two homers in game one, finishing the day 5-7 with a double, five RBI and four runs scored.

In game one, the Panthers jumped out to an early lead as Hoffman struck a two-out long ball to left field that was good for a solo home run to put Middlebury up 1-0. Middlebury extended their lead in the top of the third as senior Emma Katz (Northridge, Calif.) reached base on a one-out single. Sable followed up with a walk. Allyson Staats was able to draw a fielder's choice to keep the runners on first and second but Hoffman struck again with a single to centerfield to double the lead.

Junior Elizabeth Morris (Kenilworth, Ill.) shut down the Dutchwomen offense, as she was able to limit Union to just four hits in the game. Union was able to get within one as Staats reached first base on an error followed by a double from Samantha Chevalier.

Middlebury quickly rebuilt their lead as Sable hit a solo shot to give the Panthers a 3-1 edge. Rookie Jackie Stern (Northfield, Ill.) followed up the home run with a double to the gap to continue the inning. Poracky extended the lead with an RBI single to score in Stern. Middlebury added one more run as Vachow lined the ball down the left field line to bring Stern home to make it 5-1.

Hoffman added more insurance runs for the Panthers in the top of the seventh as she hit her second home run of the game on a two-run shot to extend the lead to six. Union tried to rally in the bottom frame as the Dutchwomen managed to get runners on first and third. Despite their efforts, Morris forced two groundouts to escape the jam and earn the complete game.

The second half of the doubleheader featured Sarah Logan and Lesenskyj. The Dutchwomen quickly jumped to a 2-0 lead as Aimee Palleschi launched a two-run home run over the left field wall. However, the Panthers responded in the following inning. Katz led the third inning with a single followed by Sable reaching on an error. Stern cut Union's lead in half with an RBI single. Hoffman then continued the surge with a double to the gap to level the score. Middlebury was able to tack on three more runs with RBI singles by junior Emily Kraytenberg (Londonderry, N.H.) and Scibetta to make it 5-2.

Lesenskyj settled down after the second and scattered three hits over the following three innings. Hoffman continued to reach base as she stroked a two-out single in the top of the fourth. Vachow was able to get Hoffman home as she reached on a double to extend the lead to four. Sable added on her RBI tally in the top of the fifth as she doubled to score in two more runs.

Middlebury added one more run to make it 10-2 as Sterns came in the final inning for relief to retire the final side in order to close out the game.

• Softball record: 11-6

• Up next: 4/10 vs. Skidmore (2) – 3:30, 4/12 @ Hamilton, 4/13 @ Hamilton (2)