Softball Earns Split Against Kenyon Ladies, Falls to Allegheny Gators


Photo courtesy of OC Athletics

First-year pitcher Emily Tucci prepares to deliver a pitch against Grinnell College on March 22. Tucci has been a major addition to the softball team, boasting a team-low 2.72 ERA in 13 appearances and adding 14 hits and three home runs through 18 games.

The Yeowomen recorded their first win against rival Kenyon College Ladies in three years in their first week of North Coast Athletic Conference play last weekend 14–12. However, it was the only win they recorded, as they split the doubleheader against the Ladies on Saturday, and dropped both games of their double header against the Allegheny College Gators Wednesday 2–9 and 2–8.

Going into the Wednesday games, Head Coach Sara Schoenhoft — who is in her third year with the program — was optimistic about their matchup.

“Allegheny has been a good matchup for us the past few years,” Schoenhoft said. “We’re just going to focus on playing our best, but we definitely have some good momentum going forward.”

Battling freezing temperatures, fierce winds, and intermittent snow, the Yeowomen got off to a slow start in their first game ever Wednesday in the brand new Dolcemaschio Stadium, which includes stadium seating and a state-of-the-art press box. Against the Gators, first-year Emily Tucci — who was fresh off her win against the Ladies — held her own on the mound, but the offense could not offer her any run support. While she managed to hold the Gators to just two runs through the first two innings, the Gators broke away in the third, scoring four runs. With a 6–1 lead, the Gators comfortably coasted to a victory, despite the poor weather conditions. For the Yeowomen, sophomore third baseman Alexis Dill and senior outfielder Dana Rae Goldstein enjoyed strong performances, as Dill collected two hits and Goldstein raked a home run, but it was not enough to avoid their 9–2 defeat.

With such a young team, as eight of the 18 players are first-years, Schoenhoft has helped her players learn on their feet and adjust at a moment’s notice.

“We talk a lot about making adjustments,” she said. “Not only from at-bat to at-bat, but within an at-bat. If someone’s struggling in a game, we just focus on the adjustments they can make. We’ll never let a kid get down on themselves and say, ‘I’m done.’ We’re always reminding them that they can do this, and we have a ton of talent on the bench to come out if need be.”

Adjustments aside, the Yeowomen did not perform much better in the second matchup of the double header, again scoring just two runs in their 8–2 defeat. In this game, it took the Gators much less time to get on the board, as their five first-inning runs proved enough to win the game. In the fifth inning, the Yeowomen narrowed the gap to just three; junior outfielder Emma Downing hit an RBI triple and first-year outfielder Dani Pechthalt drove in a run of her own to put her team in striking distance entering the final two innings. However, facing runners on second and third in the top of the sixth inning, the Yeowomen recorded a costly error, and on the next play senior pitcher Sandra Kibble walked a batter with the bases loaded, sending the Gators out of reach with a four-run lead. By the time it resumed snowing, the Yeowomen let up another two runs and lost the game.

Despite a shaky showing against the now 8–9 Gators, the Yeowomen still had a lot to be happy about after this week. In addition to opening their brand-new stadium, they recorded their first conference win of the season last weekend against the Ladies.

Despite the win, it took a while to get going against the Ladies. In their first matchup, the Yeowomen had virtually no success on offense, scoring just one run in the sixth inning off of an infield fly double play by first-year Sophia Musiak. While Tucci and Kibble were strong on the mound, their lack of run support led to a 6–1 defeat.

“The first game I definitely struggled a lot,” Tucci said. “Just getting my changeups to hit their spots and being calm — because I usually am calm and screwing around — was tough. In between games I just tried to be a little more relaxed, got a quicker warm-up, and focused on hitting the corners, knowing the changeup was something we needed to get to be effective in that game.”

Oberlin opened up the second game on a much stronger foot, scoring four runs in the first inning. However, Kenyon was quick to respond, flooding the Yeowomen with nine runs in just the bottom of the first. A lone home run by Downing was all the Yeowomen could muster in the second as Kenyon stretched their lead to 12–5. In the third inning, Tucci returned to the mound and helped turn the tide defensively, blanking the Ladies over the five remaining innings. Tucci helped rally the Yeowomen bats as well. Going into the sixth inning — with Oberlin down just three runs — home runs by Tucci and Pechthalt sealed the game.

“I talked to Dani [Pechthalt] about our mentality before we went up to bat,” Tucci said. “We were just like, ‘If you get a hit, that’s awesome, and if you don’t get a hit, that’s OK too,’ and then she hit a home run, I hit a home run… It was great.”

Pechthalt — who has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the roster, as she did not even expect to play entering spring training — had not ever hit a home run going into last Saturday’s game.

“I thought it was going foul [at first],” Pechthalt said. “I didn’t really believe it was happening, but then I saw it go over and I started screaming. I was screaming all the way around the bases. It felt really good to have helped get a win — especially against a team we haven’t beaten in so long.”

The Yeowomen won’t have much of a break in the action, as they will suit up once again to play the Denison University Tigers tomorrow in a double header in Dolcemaschio Stadium starting at 1 p.m.