Seasoned Squad Splits Season Opener


Oberlin Athletics

Junior Katie Pieplow winds up for a pitch in a game last season. Pieplow was named NCAC Player of the Week after she recorded seven RBIs and three hits in a game against the Maryville College Scots.

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The women’s softball team brought home its first win, splitting against the Maryville College Scots last Saturday. The Yeowomen sealed the first game 2–4, but fell 9–6 to the Scots in the second game.

In the first game, the Scots scored first, plating one in the first inning, but the Yeowomen quickly bounced back with two runs in the top of the third inning. The first run was scored by first-year Sami Mericle who tallied a total of three hits in her first collegiate game, tying junior Katie Pieplow for a game high.

Pieplow was integral to the Yeowomen’s success this weekend, with seven RBIs and a season first home run that helped her earn North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week. According to Mericle, it was was Pipelow’s energy and spark that fueled the team’s first victory.

“[Pieplow’s] first home run of the season was a big moment for the team,” said Mericle. “I think it proved to us that we can be great when we’re relaxed and bring energy.”

In the second game, the Yeowomen came out on fire, with Pieplow, seniors Emily King and Melanie Budney and junior Richelle Romanchik scoring a total of five runs in the first two innings. But the Scots answered quickly, scoring five runs in the second inning, and another in the next three innings. The Yeowomen were unable to add much to their early scoring output, and scored just one more run, a Pieplow sacfly.

Despite the loss in the second game, the Yeowomen identified areas for improvement going into the rest of the season.

“The games this weekend came down to us making the routine plays and keeping our composure in stressful situations as well as being aggressive on the bases,” King said. “We saw how incredibly important it is to keep the same energy level from the first inning of the first game to the last inning of the second. Once we do that, we’ll be golden,” she added.

After a month of preseason training, the Yeowomen are hungry to improve on their 4–30 record from last season. With only 12 people on the team, the Yeowomen hope their small numbers help build team chemistry.

“We have a rather small roster, but I personally think that this allows for us to work very cohesively as a unit,” said Pieplow.

Graduating only one senior from last year’s squad, the Yeowomen will look to the leadership of the senior trio King, Budney and Steiner. King had a strong start this past weekend when she scored four runs. Last season she led the team in both ERA and batting average at 3.46 and .393, respectively, and hopes to have another impressive year to finish off her career. King is also expected to be a leading pitcher for the Yeowomen.

Including Mericle, the team brought in four first-years to help bolster the program, and as proven this past weekend, the new players are expected to have an immediate impact. One of these notable additions is Grace Evans, a catcher from Arlington, VA, who earned Fairfax Times All Region second team in 2013.

The Yeowomen have their next game Saturday, March 15, against Thiel College at home.