This past weekend, the Colgate softball team headed to Orlando to compete in the University of Central Florida Tournament, playing games against Bowling Green, Tennessee-Martin, Western Carolina, Central Florida and Pennsylvania. The team won their first game of the weekend but unfortunately fell short in the rest of the contests.
The first game of the weekend against Bowling Green marked the Raiders’ first win of the season, while sophomore pitcher Brigit Ieuter pitched seven straight innings allowing just one hit. In the first inning, first-year Katie Bushee reached base on a fielding error, then quickly stole second. Sophomore Marisa Dowling’s ground out moved Bushee to third, but she was unfortunately left stranded at the end of the inning, leaving the game scoreless. In the following innings the Raiders got two more players on base, but were still unable to bring them home.
In the top of the sixth inning, Bowling Green got a runner to second base. The bunt that followed moved the runner to third, but this was followed by a line out and a pop up to move to the bottom of the inning without giving up a run to the Falcons. In the bottom of the inning, sophomore Mariel Schlaefer was walked to get on base. Dowling then hit a double to left field, allowing Schlaefer to score from first and give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.
Then, in the top of the seventh, Ieuter pitched a strikeout with a runner on base and one out. With two outs, Bowling Green grounded out to end the game, giving Colgate a 1-0 win.
In the second game of the day, Colgate fell 1-7 to the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks. Tennessee scored four runs in the first inning to start of with a strong lead, but Colgate began to rally in the bottom of the third. First-year Alex Wilson hit a single down the right field line, followed by a hit by junior Kate Zucker, when Wilson unfortunately ended up being tagged out at second. Sophomore Alex Gadiano then grounded out to move Zucker to second, and then a single by Bushee moved Zucker again to third. With Zucker in scoring position, a double steal allowed her to score as Tennessee attempted to pick off Bushee at second, therefore putting Colgate on the scoreboard.
Two more Skyhawk runs in the top of the fourth brought the score to 6-1. Despite Dowling and senior Jennifer Martin getting on base in the bottom of the fourth, they were followed by three straight outs to move into the fifth inning. A final Tennessee run in the sixth inning secured their 7-1 win.
The next day, Colgate took on Western Carolina and Central Florida. In the first game against Western Carolina, Bushee earned a walk to start off the first inning. In the following at bat, senior Haley Fleming took one for the team to get on base as well. With just one out, Martin hit a single to advance the other runners into scoring position. After getting one more out, senior Tera Vaughn hit a single to bring home Bushee and Fleming, giving the Raiders the initial lead of 2-0. In the bottom of the inning, however, West Carolina scored a run after loading the bases with two singles and a walk. A sacrifice fly then allowed the Catamounts to bring a runner home and bring the score to 2-1.
Despite some good opportunities to score in the third inning, Colgate was unable to add any more runs to its tally. Western Carolina scored three more runs in a big fourth inning to take the 4-2 lead. In the following innings, Colgate was unable to bring runners home, including Vaughn who singled and stole second in the top of the sixth but ended up stranded. Colgate ultimately lost the game 4-2
despite holding the initial advantage.
In the second game of the day against Central Florida, Colgate was unable to score although the team got on base on a few separate occasions. Central Florida scored one run in the bottom of the first and another in the bottom of fifth, which would be enough to defeat Colgate 2-0.
Likewise, in Colgate’s final contest of the weekend against Penn, they fell short despite getting multiple runners on base and loading the bases twice. Colgate’s one run was scored in the fourth inning after a single by Bushee, which brought first-year Tara Grennan home from second, putting Colgate on the scoreboard. Although Colgate continued to play a strong game, Penn took the 11-1 win.
Sophomore Brigit Ieuter commented on playing such a tight and busy weekend, discussing some of the pros and cons that come with playing five games in three days.
“It is definitely draining both physically and mentally, especially under the sun. But, it’s also nice because it gives you a chance to bounce back from bad at bats or missed opportunities in the field,” Ieuter said. “On the flip side, it also allows us to keep our momentum going. Our coaches do a lot for the team to keep us motivated and ready for games by giving us talks in the huddles and leading us during warm ups. But also, as teammates we try to pick each other up in the dugouts and remind each other to stay focused and energized. All it takes is a few people to get the rest of the team going.”
Ieuter then talked about what the team would take away from this past weekend’s tournament and how it would shape the season ahead.
“I think this weekend highlighted areas that we need to work on, both offensively and defensively. So, although we didn’t get the outcome we had hoped for, we can still use a lot of those experiences to help us move forward,” Ieuter said. “We saw moments of greatness in each game, but we just need to put it all together for a full seven innings. The losses we had are already in the past, so all we can do now is use them as motivation. It’s early in the season, and I’m excited to see how our team will keep progressing, because I know we have a lot more to give and I know we all want to win.”
The softball team will be busy over spring break, and this weekend they will head to Fairfax, Va. to compete in the George Mason Tournament.
Contact Jack Murray at [email protected]