March 31, 2016

Softball Tees off With Strong Showing in Florida

Courtesy of University of Chicago Athletics

The Maroons returned from their annual spring break trip with an 8–1 record, giving them a strong start to their season. During the trip to Clermont, FL, the South Siders got the chance to take on DIII teams from all around the country. The Maroons had fierce battles against UW–Stevens Point, UW–Platteville, Union (NY), MIT, Millikin University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Williams College, and Middlebury College. Each battle resulted in victory. The squad posted only one defeat, falling to Buena Vista University. 

With their debut against UW–Stevens Point, the Maroons came out strong, despite the game delay that pushed the start time back by an hour. Fourth-year pitcher Jordan Poole boasted an excellent performance on the mound as she allowed only four base runners: one hit and three walks. After four innings with no runs by either side, the Maroons were able to get on the board with an RBI by fourth-year Kristin Lopez, giving them a 1–0 lead over the Pointers. The sixth inning proved to be huge for the Maroons as they put six runs on the board. First-year Carly Schulz made her collegiate debut with a three-run homer over the fence. Lopez followed with a three-run of her own, putting the Maroons at six runs against the Pointers’ zero. The game ended with a score of 7–0.

The following day proved to be another success for Chicago as it went on to play Union and then MIT. Against Union, the Maroons hit their opponent away early as they scored two runs in the first inning thanks to a two-run homer by Lopez. In the second inning, the squad really did damage as the players scored six runs. In the fifth inning, the South Siders were up 10–1, ending the game via eight-run rule. MIT also demonstrated no challenge for the Maroons ,who toppled them 6–0. Although the first four innings were dry for both teams, in the fifth inning, the Maroons unleashed an offensive burst and scored all of its six runs. 

March 22 had its ups and downs for the softball team; the South Siders defeated Millikin with an 11–2 victory but fell to Buena Vista 2–1. This was the Maroons’ first loss of the season. Buena Vista scored its runs in the first and last innings. In the first inning, the Beavers had one run with one out, but Poole calmly responded by retiring the next 17 batters. First-year Serena Moss got on the board with a run, and it is interesting to note that Moss has posted at least one run every game this season.

Against UW–Platteville and Eastern Connecticut State, Chicago picked up two more victories. The Connecticut game was a nail biter—the momentum continuously teetered between the two teams. The Maroons pulled through with a 10–9 victory over ECSU. Over Platteville the Maroons posted another dominating 7–1 victory.

Moss said, “Florida was a lot of fun. We got pretty behind in a couple games and ended up coming all the way back to win so that was pretty awesome. It was tough losing to Buena Vista because we outplayed them.... We got a tough call by the umpires in that game, though, that was a turning point in the game.” However, the first-year remained optimistic about the loss: she said, “It was a tough loss, but it was also a learning experience. All in all, we showed a lot of good things in Florida.” 

The squad also played a double-header against Lake Forest College this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, they were unable to ride the momentum of their trip to Florida and dropped both games by 10–4 and 8–0, respectively. “It was tough losing to Lake Forest on Tuesday because we just didn’t come out ready to play, and they did,” Moss said. 

However, the team is planning on coming back stronger than before. “I know that we’re a much better team than that, and it was a bummer that we couldn’t go out and prove that. This is a learning experience, though, that we can’t underestimate any team and we always have to come out ready to play,” Moss said.

The Maroons have a great chance to rebound as they play two doubleheaders this weekend: against Kalamazoo at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Friday and UW–Whitewater at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.

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