Softball Kicks Off Season in Florida With Little Success



The Colgate softball team traveled to Florida over Spring Break to compete in both the Stetson Classic and the University of South Florida Spring Break Classic. The Raiders played a total of 14 games. They got off to a rough start, losing their first 13 games of the season, but finished strong with a 5-3 win against Maine in their last game of the trip. 

Colgate kicked off the season with a tough 7-0 loss against Valparaiso. They struggled at the plate in the season opener with senior Alana Dyson tallying the only Colgate hit of the contest. Later in the opening day of the Stetson Classic, the Raiders decimated the hosts with a 10-2 win. In the following game, first-year pitcher Brigit Ieuter made her first career start, allowing three hits and five runs during her one inning of work. Her fellow first-year Megan Carnase came in to relieve her and pitched the last five innings of the six-inning contest. The Raiders went on to fall 7-5 to Valparaiso on the second day of the Stetson Classic in Deland, Fla. 

The softball women lost both of the doubleheader games against Farleigh Dickinson University (FDU), 3-2 and 7-2, to finish out the first of their two tournaments in Florida. The Raiders seemed to find their bats against FDU, but ended up with two tough losses.

Dyson led them both offensively and defensively in the doubleheader. Dyson had two hits as the Raiders rallied in the seventh inning of their first contest against FDU.  

“Alana has gotten off to a great start for us offensively. She has been the spark that has gotten a lot of big innings started, and she also made some key plays for us defensively too,” head coach Melissa Finley, said.

The Raiders received top performances from juniors Tera Vaughn and Haley Fleming in the final game of the Stetson Classic, a 7-2 loss to FDU. Vaughn got the Raiders on the board first with a solo home run, her first of the season. Fleming also recorded an RBI and a hit on the afternoon. Ieuter and Carnase both came in for an inning of relief with Carnase recording her first career strikeout. Alana Dyson and first-year Mariel Schlaefer were named to the Stetson Classic All-Tournament team for their performances throughout the weekend. 

Despite a 0-5 start to their season-opening trip, the Raiders head coach Melissa Finley was quite optimistic about the rest of the season.  

“It was a tough opening weekend for us. But even though we didn’t get the outcomes we wanted, it was a great learning experience. I know this team will continue to battle, and we are looking forward to our games at FAU on Tuesday,” Finley said.

Before heading to the University of South Florida Spring Break Classic in Tampa, the Raiders played doubleheaders against both Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and Stetson University. In spite of two hard-fought games against FAU, the Raiders failed to garner a victory in either contest, losing 5-2 and 4-2. Similarly, they could not take down Stetson.

The Raiders triumphed in the opening game of the doubleheader with a 6-3 win but they could not escape extra innings with a win and instead fell to Stetson in the evening match-up 8-7 despite a tremendous outing by Ieuter on the mound. Junior outfielder Jennifer Martin led the way for the Raiders with three hits, one run and two runners batted in (RBI) in the games. Vaughn added two hits, two runs and three RBIs on the night while senior second baseman Natalie Siedhof recorded one hit, one run and two RBIs.

The Raiders continued to struggle on their last leg of the trip at the USF Spring Break Classic. On the first day of the tournament, they beat University of Rhode Island 5-4 as well as Boston College 7-5. The Raiders faced Quinnipiac and Florida A&M on the second day in Tampa. They fell 16-7 in five innings to Quinnipiac.  

Later in the day, they dropped a 4-2 decision to in-state Florida A&M. On the last day of their trip, the Raiders garnered a 5-3 victory over Maine. First-year Mariel Schlaefer led the Colgate softball team with a two-run homerun to center field. Colgate (1-13) scored five runs throughout the game with four of those coming off the bat of Schlaefer. Senior captain Courtney O’Connell pitched seven strong innings allowing six hits and three runs. She also had four strikeouts in the game. Although the Raiders only came away from their trip with one win, the players have a positive outlook going forward into the end of non-conference and Patriot League play.   

“The tournaments gave us a realistic view of what we need to continue working on to better ourselves as we continue to prepare for Patriot League play. We were afforded the opportunity to play a lot of games and try out several different lineups, which will help coach make a decision on the best fit for our team,” Dyson said. 

This upcoming weekend the Raiders head to the Delaware State Tournament looking to build a win streak in games against Princeton, Delaware State and Brown.