After a strong spring break performance in Florida, softball has returned to Chicago only to struggle with consistency, failing to sweep any of three doubleheaders, and ending their first week back 12–5–1.
On Friday, the Maroons faced the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. After allowing three runs in the first inning, Chicago was able to rally in the second half of the first game to win 11–10, but then allowed Whitewater to come back in the second game, losing 7–8.
In both games, the offense performed strongly. Fourth-year first baseman Kathleen Duffy started things off in the first game with a three-run home run in the first inning. The offense gave even more support in the fifth inning, scoring seven runs on three hits, with a three-run double coming off the bat of second-year second baseman Julia Schneider.
In the second game, once again Duffy came out strong offensively with a grand slam in the third inning. The defense, however, struggled, and gave up five earned runs and three unearned runs.
In the coming games, the Maroons, currently ranked 21st, are going to need to see a return to the strong defensive game they showed over spring break. Here, they proved that they can keep a streak alive and that defense can keep runs to a minimum as they won nine in a row during their weeklong training trip. If they can replicate this performance on a more regular basis and put both their offense and defense together consistently, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Second-year outfielder Liz Payonk remains confident that the team can find this needed consistency. “The way our offense has been battling back from deficits and the confidence we have in our pitching staff prove that it is only a matter of time before we start another win streak,” she said.
The combination of veteran strength and the up-and-coming talent of the seven first-years added to the roster this year puts Chicago in a unique position and makes it a team to follow, especially as its young pitching staff only improves with increased experience.
The Maroons will next face North Park Friday at 3 p.m. at Stagg Field.