April 2, 2012

The Middlebury College softball team opened up its season in Clermont, Florida with a 5-4 loss to Wisconsin-Whitewater on March 24. Junior Jessa Hoffman (Golden, Colo.) led the team with a 2-4 effort, including a triple and two runs scored. Sophomore Emily Kraytenberg (Londonderry, N.H.) tripled in the game as sophomore Alexa Lesenskyj (Robbinsville, N.J.) took the loss with four innings of work.

Later that day, the Panthers fell by a score of 3-0 to Depauw. Kraytenberg had two hits in the game to pace the offense, while Lesenskyj suffered the loss.

Middlebury earned its first win of the season on March 25, an 8-2 decision over MIT. The Panthers scored five runs in the top of the seventh to blow the game open, finishing with 14 hits on the afternoon. Hoffman went 4-4 with a double, triple and three runs scored, while Kraytenberg was 3-3 with a double and two RBI. Junior Sarah Boylan (Danvers, Mass.) hit a pair of doubles, as sophomore Elizabeth Morris (Kenilworth, Ill.) earned the win with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief.

The Panthers moved to 2-2 on the season later that day with an 8-0 win over Southern Maine in six innings. Lesenskyj earned the win with four innings of scoreless work, while first-year pitcher Marcela Olvera (Gurnee, Ill.) was effective for two innings. Junior Jessica Poracky (Ramsey, N.J.) went 3-4 with two RBI, while Hoffman went 3-4 with two runs scores. Boylan and rookie Christina Bicks (Ridgewood, N.J.) each went 2-2 in the game.

Thomas scored two runs in the bottom of the seven to pick up a 7-6 win over the Panthers on March 26. Hoffman went 3-4 with a double and two RBI, while sophomore Alex Scibetta (Ridgewood, N.J.) went 3-4 in the game. Poracky had a 2-4 game with a triple, while first-year player Kelsey Martel (Concord, N.H.) took the loss with 4.2 innings of work.

Lesenskyj tossed a seven hit shutout later that morning as the Panthers earned a 1-0 win over MIT. Poracky went 2-3 with a double, driving in the game’s only run in the fourth inning. Katz doubled in the game.

Middlebury dropped game one of a three-game day on March 28, falling to Mount Mercy, 5-3. Kraytenberg and Poracky each went 2-4, with Poracky owning a double. Lesenskyj took the loss with four innings of work.

MIT scored four in the third inning and held off a late comeback on its way to a 6-5 win over the Panthers. Bicks and Poracky finished 2-3 in the game, while Kraytenberg doubled and Emily Smith drove in two runs. Martel took the loss with 3.2 innings of work.

The Panthers took their third game of the day, blanking Oberlin 8-0 in a five-inning game. The Panthers led 3-0 before scoring five in the bottom of the fifth to end the game. Poracky went 2-3 with two doubles and two runs driven, while Katz was 2-2 with a double. Bicks finished the game 2-3 with two runs scored, while Kraytenberg was 2-3. Lesenskyj earned the win with five innings of four-hit ball.

On the final day of play in Florida, the Panthers fell to Wis.-Whitewater 5-3 before ending with a 6-5 win over Mount Mercy. UWW scored three in the top of the seventh inning to defeat the Panthers. Scibetta went 2-4 with a double and two RBI, while Hoffman also doubled. Morris suffered the loss in relief with 2.2 innings of work.

Martel threw 3.2 innings of one-hit relief to earn the win in the southern finale vs. Mount Mercy. Poracky went 2-3 with a double, three-run homer and five RBI in the game. Boylan finished 2-3, while Bicks was 2-3 with two runs scored.

Middlebury swept a twin-bill from Johnson State on Sunday, topping the visiting Badgers 6-1 in the Panthers’ home-opener and 16-0 in a five-inning contest in the second game. On the day the Panthers out-scored Johnson State 22-1, while out-hitting the Badgers 25-5. Middlebury (7-6) will be busy this week, playing seven home contests over the next six days, including a pair on Tuesday against Union College.

In game one, the Panthers broke a scoreless tie in the third with RBI singles by junior Emma Katz (Northridge, Calif.) and Poracky. Middlebury scored two more in the fifth when Hoffman tripled in Christina from second base. Poracky later plated Hoffman on a put-out at first for a 4-0 lead.

Johnson State (4-12) got on the board in the sixth, when Morgan Rogerson hit a two-out double, scoring Maria Gleason all the way from first base. In the bottom of the inning, the Panthers used five hits to score two more runs for a 6-1 advantage.

Hoffman went 3-4, including a triple and an RBI, while Katz went 2-4 with a double and two RBI for Middlebury. Poracky finished game one going 2-3 with two RBI, while sophomore Kimber Sable (Winnetka, Ill.), who showed remarkable range in centerfield, also finished 2-3, scoring a pair of runs.

Lesenskyj earned the win, going the distance for Middlebury, allowing the one earned run over seven innings of work, pushing her record to 4-3 on the season. Meagan Russ (3-6) took the loss for the Badgers, allowing six earned runs with 12 hits over six innings of work.

            Game two saw Middlebury score runs in each frame, eventually holding an 8-0 lead after three innings. Hoffman knocked in two RBI in the first inning with another triple, highlighting the 8-0 run.

            The Panthers blew the doors off in the fourth inning, scoring eight runs, doubling their lead to 16-0. Kraytenberg opened the barrage with her third double of the game. Later with one-out and two runners on, Emily Smith plated Kraytenberg. Sable followed with an RBI single. After a throwing error allowed another run to score, Hoffman was plunked by Badger starter Kristy McDonnell to load the bases for Poracky with two outs. Poracky responded with a towering, tape-measure grand-slam blast to dead centerfield for a 15-0 Panther advantage. The ball was so well hit, Johnson’s centerfielder Amber McCullock simply watched it soar out of the park without giving chase. Kraytenberg followed with her fourth double of the game and was eventually knocked home by a single from Hanna Marks for the 16-0 final.

            Kraytenberg’s fantastic 4-4, four double performance with two RBI and a pair of runs scored was matched only by Poracky’s six-RBI, 2-4 day at the plate, including her towering grand slam. A trio of hurlers entered the circle for Middlebury with Morris tossing two seamless opening innings, as Martel (2-2) earned the win, pitching two scoreless innings allowing the only two hits of the game, while Olvera capped the fifth, tossing a three-up, three-down frame to end the game.

            McDonnell (1-4) took the loss for the Badgers, pitching four innings, allowing 13 hits and 16 runs, with seven runs earned.
• Softball team record: 7-6
• Up next: 4/3 vs. Union – 3:30, 4/4 vs. Castleton – 3:30, 4/6 vs. Hamilton (1) – 5:00, 4/7 vs. Hamilton – 12:00