Yeowomen Show New Promise in Opening Games


Rick Yu

Junior Dana Goldstein hits an incoming pitch in the Yeowomen’s home opener against the Wilmington College Fighting Quakers. Oberlin split the doubleheader against Wilmington, winning game one 6–2 before falling 6–5 in the second.

Alex McNicoll, Contributing Sports Editor

Thriving in the sunshine state, softball set a program record for spring break wins, going 6–6 in a week of non-conference games. The Yeowomen then returned from Florida for their home opener, splitting a doubleheader with the Wilmington College Fighting Quakers. Oberlin won game one 6–2 before dropping the nightcap 6–5.

After winning just eight games over the past two seasons, the Yeowomen have already racked up 7 wins and are 7–11 overall. Junior pitcher Sandra Kibble credits the team’s triumphs to their newly developed sense of competitiveness.

“We no longer seem satisfied with just competing with a team, rather we yearn for the win and give it our all until the last inning,” Kibble said in an email to the Review. “This changes how we practice and how we play, and I think we are all enjoying this newfound competitiveness from our team.”

In Oberlin’s first game against Wilmington College on Tuesday, sophomore centerfielder Emma Downing ignited the Yeowomen offense. Downing, who was named the NCAC Athlete of the Week after going 16 for 32 at the plate over spring break with 12 runs scored and a .750 slugging percentage, hit an RBI single to tie the game at one in the third inning. With the game still tied in the fifth frame, Downing drilled another RBI single to put Oberlin ahead 2–1.

An RBI triple from junior Dana Goldstein helped the Yeowomen push across four more runs in the inning to take 6–1 advantage.

On the mound, senior pitcher Tori Poplaski was dominant. The Waterloo, NY, native earned her third win of the season tossing a complete game, striking out five hitters while allowing just one earned run on six hits.

Oberlin outhit Wilmington College 10–6 en route to their 6–2 victory. Downing led the charge, going 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run, and sophomore Kat Ladouceur added two hits. As a team, the Yeowomen are currently batting .321, which Downing says has been a result of hard work during practice.

“A lot of the time when we’re doing individual drills our team gives each other positive feedback on what we’re doing well, what we’re not doing well,” Downing said. “That, plus a lot of extra work, leads to good results.”

In their second game, defense played a key role in the final result. Kibble hurled five innings and allowed just two earned runs, but two critical errors led to four unearned runs in the first two innings. Down 5–0, the Yeowomen were quick to respond as an RBI groundout from Ladouceur and first-year Lexi Mitchell’s RBI double sparked the Oberlin offense for three runs in the second inning. After Mitchell stole home in the same inning, Oberlin had trimmed the lead to 5–3. However, Wilmington would push across an insurance run in the fifth to eventually win the game 6–5.

Head Coach Sara Schoenhoft, now in her second year at the helm, said that games against teams like Wilmington College give her squad a sense of where they stand heading in to league play.

“I like playing teams in the OAC because it’s a good yardstick for us for where we are in the region and where we are in the conference,” she said.

With 18 games already played, the Yeowomen open their NCAC schedule with a double-header tomorrow against the Kenyon College Ladies. After defeating the Ladies 4–0 in a scrimmage this fall and gaining confidence from their spring trip, the Yeowomen hope to continue their newfound success in conference play.

“I think that the way our season went last year, we lost a lot of games, and that lent a new kind of intensity to how we came in to this year,” Downing said. “No one wanted to repeat that type of season.”