Softball Earns Split At Amherst
April 13, 2008
Middlebury split a pair of NESCAC West league games at Amherst on Sunday afternoon. The Jeffs picked up a 9-0 win in a five-inning first game, while the Panthers came back to win a 6-5 12-inning contest in the second game of the day.
After a three-pitch 1-2-3 inning for Alex Chang-Graham in the top of the fourth, Amherst tacked on another four runs when Emily Neill came up with the bases loaded and cleared them with one swing of the bat for her second home run of the season and the third of the game for the Jeffs.
Neill's grand slam gave Amherst a 9-0 lead, but that was more than enough for Chang-Graham, who threw just 63 pitches in her one-hit shutout to move to 5-4 on the season. Brittany Burke (4-6) picked up the complete-game loss for the Panthers, striking out three and walking none through four innings.
The second game was a completely different story that began with Middlebury chalking up four runs in the top of the first inning. Kelsey Chisholm, Crawford, Megan Margel, Geena Constantin and Allison Bard reached on consecutive singles to start the game, with all but Bard coming around to score.
Those would be the only runs the Panthers would score until the 12th inning, as the Lord Jeffs slowly chipped away at their deficit and picked up one run in each of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings to send the game into extra frames. The game-tying run came when Kelly King singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth and was moved around to third base before scoring on a wild pitch with two outs, diving into home to just beat the throw for the crucial run.
Amelia Magistrali had a stellar day at third base for Middlebury, and twice turned inning-ending double plays by stepping on third for a force out before firing the ball to first for the second out. Amherst turned a momentum-killing double play of its own in the seventh inning when starting pitcher Ali McAnaney sent a hard line drive back to the pitcher. The ball bounced off of Chang-Graham's glove and right to Neil at shortstop, as she made the catch and threw to first for out number two.
Both teams had several chances to score the go-ahead run, including a crucial play in the bottom of the eighth that saw Neill get gunned down at the plate by Crawford in right field, but it was not until the top of the 12th that either side was able to capitalize. After Bard was placed on second base to start the inning, McAnaney and Magistrali singled to load the bases with no outs. Kristin Maletsky singled through the left side to bring in the go-ahead run, and Kelsey Chisholm capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to left field to give Middlebury a 6-4 lead.
Amherst got one back in the bottom half of the frame but left Tyler stranded on third base, as the Panthers held on for the 6-5 win, with Crawford's throw in the eighth proving to be the game-saver.
Chisholm, Crawford, McAnaney and Magistrali each had three hits in the second game for the Panthers, with Margel going 4-for-6 with an RBI and run scored. McAnaney allowed three earned runs on eight hits through five innings but picked up the no-decision, as Constantin pitched the final seven innings to earn the victory. Constantin (3-3) surrendered two runs-none of which were earned-on four hits, striking out two and walking a pair.