Softball Sweeps Terriers, Falls to Crusaders


Devin Cowan

First-year catcher and shortstop Maddison Paladino steps into the box in a game against Denison University April 7. Paladino started all 34 games of her first season, collecting 14 hits, eight RBIs, and 13 walks.

The softball team closed their season against the Capital University Crusaders Thursday, dropping the first game 9–1 and the second game 2–1. Although they ended with an overall record of 8–26 and a 3–13 record in North Coast Athletic Conference play, they have some momentum to carry into next spring. Against the Hiram College Terriers, the Yeowomen earned their first conference sweep since 2014. Since eight of their 18 players are first-years — and over half of the first-years are starters — they have plenty to look forward to.

In their first matchup against the Crusaders, the Yeowomen couldn’t get things going offensively. First-year outfielder Emily Tucci managed to steal third base and home on an error in the top of the first inning, but it ended up being the only run for the Yeowomen that game. Senior pitcher Sandra Kibble, who is 1–7 on the season, let up six hits and three earned runs in just 2.0 innings pitched. Junior pitcher Hannah Rasmussen came in as relief in the third inning, but gave up six earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched. Rasmussen, however, did see significant improvement over the course of the season and was heavily replied upon in the circle.

Tucci, who dominated on both sides of the ball in her rookie season, wasn’t displeased with her team’s season and is confident success is in the future, despite the team’s spot in the standings.

“Even though this season may not have turned out how we all wanted it to, our passion, aggressiveness, and dedication to the game will bring us to the conference championship as we continue to build this program,” Tucci said. “I think every single person on this team contributed to our successes, and I feel confident that if we continue to trust ourselves and play like we own the game, great things are going to happen for the seasons to come.”

In the second game, and their final matchup of the year, the Yeowomen were on the heels of victory until the bottom of the final inning. Once again, the Yeowomen were the first to get on the scoreboard with the notorious double steal, as sophomore shortstop Alexis Dill took second and junior pinch runner Millie Cavicchio scored on the throw. Tucci was dominant on the mound, denying the Crusaders a run until the fourth inning, when they tied the game with a solo home run. It was not until the bottom of the seventh when Tucci gave up her second run, and the final run of the game, off a walk-off single.

Throughout the Yeowomen’s short season, they were unable to coordinate their successes, having pitching excellence at the same time as scoring drought and vice versa. Junior outfielder Emma Downing, who was an offensive fixture with a team-leading .380 batting average, knows her team’s potential, and also understands how they can become a threat in the NCAC.

“I think the biggest takeaway from this season is trusting that we are capable and good enough to put together pitching, defense, and offense to win games,” Downing said. “If we can continue to build on how the Hiram games went, we’ll be in a really good place for next year. Having so many freshmen gain experience this year and having returners continue to improve will also be helpful in contributing to more wins next year.”

Against the Terriers, the Yeowomen showed some of the dominance that has come sporadically this season. In the first game, they batted in 11 runs behind Tucci’s impressive 3-for-4, three RBI performance. Downing and Dill also combined for another three RBIs in a 11–3 victory. In the second game, with Rasmussen on the mound, the Yeowomen scored another eight runs and let up just four. Tucci delivered another stellar performance by going 3-for-4 again, as well as collecting another RBI.

Moving forward, the Yeowomen will lose three seniors in Kibble and outfielders Dana Rae Goldstein and Maria Roussos. While all three provided valuable senior leadership, the young Yeowomen will undoubtedly benefit from another year of experience. With eight first-years and another three sophomores, the Yeowomen might finally be able to capitalize on their late season momentum and make a push for the conference playoffs in the coming years.