Softball Can’t Keep Eye On The Ball


No, it’s not the name of an online version of Colgate University. But it does accurately reflect the correct scoring for the Raider softball team’s four-game weekend series with league-leading Lehigh. The Colgate women committed 13 errors in four games – leading to nine unearned runs and four losses – as the Raiders dropped four games to Lehigh by a combined score of 22-10.

Head softball coach Vickie Sax was disappointed with the outcomes, but doesn’t see it as a reflection on her team.

“We certainly had hoped to perform better against Lehigh,” she said. “Errors plagued us and made it impossible to stay in the games. There is no question that we have the talent and athletes to beat a ball club like Lehigh, but we played 12 games in nine days. Professional baseball players don’t even do that. I think once we’re rested, our pursuit will look much different – with a more favorable outcome.”

In the first two games of the series, it was the Mary Wieder show for the Mountain Hawks.

In game one, Wieder laced a two-run single up the middle in the first inning and then – after an error by first-year first baseman Whitney Scott allowed a runner to get on base – launched a three-run homer over the left-center field fence to give Lehigh a 5-1 lead. For the game, Wieder went 2-for-2, drove in five runs, scored twice and also got on base via a walk and a hit-by-pitch.

Colgate’s lone run in the 7-1 loss came from senior tri-captain Nichole Rawson, who led off the second inning with a solo shot.

“We’re getting quite the mileage out of Nikki’s bat this season,” Sax said. “She’s handling the pressure of hitting behind [senior tri-captain] Dorothy Donaldson well.”

In Saturday’s game two, it looked like Colgate would split the first two games after a late rally, but Wieder again came to the rescue of the visitors.

After Lehigh took a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning, the Raiders rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning to take its first lead of the weekend. Junior Kim Olmstead led off with a double, and classmate Erin Hanna singles two outs later to score Olmstead and tie the game. First-year Erin O’Keefe then put the Raiders on top with an RBI single, scoring Donaldson from third base.

But junior hurler Kate Howard could not put away the Mountain Hawks in the top of the seventh. After Lehigh’s Katherine Wegert reached first base due to an error by first-year LaPorscha Albert, Wieder crushed a ball over the centerfield wall, giving Lehigh a Saturday sweep, 4-3.

Colgate came back to the Eaton Street Field on Sunday looking for at least one win, but the opportunistic Mountain Hawks and the porous Raider defense prevented that from happening.

In game one, the Raiders committed five errors, but it was the team’s offense that hurt it. The team managed only four hits off of Lehigh’s Emily Ling – after getting only three hits off Ling in eight innings the day before. The team was shut out for the first 6.2 innings of play, before O’Keefe reached on an error and classmate Erin Gomez launched a two-out, two-strike pitch over the left field wall to provide for the final scoring, 5-2.

Game two of Sunday, meanwhile, looked way too similar to Saturday’s backend for the Raiders. The Raiders finally got an early lead on the Mountain Hawks, going up 4-1 after four innings, but Lehigh grabbed two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth to steal away another victory by a score of 6-4.

In the fifth inning, a missed foul pop-up by Scott gave second life to Lehigh shortstop Mendy Martin, who laced an RBI double to bring Lehigh back to within two runs. Kate Marvel then singled home Martin to decrease the deficit to 4-3 heading into the sixth inning. In that inning, a leadoff error by Nichole Rawson set the table for three Lehigh runs, which ended the Raiders’ weekend without a win.

To add injury to insult for the Raiders, senior shortstop Natalie Rawson left Sunday’s game one and did not return after being spiked on a play at second base.

“We’ve lost Natalie for a little bit,” Sax said. “She sustained a deep wound in her shin, which was clear to the bone – she has 20 stitches, 3 layers. The sports medicine department is working on constructing her a personalized guard to protect the area for when she is cleared to return to action.

“Her bat will be missed. Although she’s been inconsistent at the plate this season, she has the ability to rise to the occasion and put runs on the board in the most crucial situations.”

After two Thursday afternoon makeup games against Patriot League foe Bucknell, the Raiders currently sit in third place in the league with a mark of 8-8. With only four league games remaining before the Patriot League Tournament begins, Sax and the Raiders remain confident – if only the team could get some rest.

“Our team and staff realizes that we should have and were very capable of winning games two and four over the weekend,” Sax said. “On a more rested day, we feel we’ll be sharper and be able to play better defense behind our pitching staff.”