Although the softball team took two games from Davis & Elkins College (8 – 14, 3 – 5-1 G-MAC) Friday, a cold Michigan spring cancelled Tuesday’s conference doubleheader against Lake Erie College and postponed two more games against Alderson Broaddus University. As it stands, Hillsdale is 7 – 5 in the G-MAC and 13 – 11 overall.
“We needed that sweep,” senior third baseman Kelsey Gockman said. “We had been sitting about .500 all season. It’s not really where we wanted to be. The more sweeps we can get, the better.”
In the opening game Friday, Hillsdale jumped to an early lead in the second inning when a two-out, 2-RBI from junior outfielder Katie Kish scored sophomore outfielder Victoria Addis and Gockman. Junior shortstop Jessica Taylor also went 2-for-2 in the Charger victory.
“There was just basically the one inning in that first game,” Gockman said. “They had a pretty good pitcher. A lot of times this season we haven’t been able to put a string of hits or a string of baserunners together, so thankfully that game we were able to do that. Of course, kudos to our pitching.”
The two Charger runs proved to be the first and only runs in the 2 – 0 win, thanks to a shutout performance from freshman pitcher Erin Hunt. In seven innings, Hunt allowed a single hit and struck out eight Senators in the game. She then returned to toss the first four innings of game two before freshman pitcher Natalie Walters stepped in to record the save in the 7 – 2 Charger victory.
“Erin Hunt just dominated and completely shut down Davis & Elkins in game one, and since we figured we probably weren’t going to be playing Saturday and we’d have several days off, we just went ahead and threw her in game two,” head coach Joe Abraham said. “Then Natalie Walters came in in a tough situation, a one-run lead, middle of the game, and just shut them down completely for three innings.”
After the Chargers took a three run lead over the first three innings, the Senators returned with two runs of their own. Timely hitting in the bottom of the sixth inning secured the victory, extending Hillsdale’s lead by an additional four runs. A single from freshman catcher Madison Stoner, a walk drawn by senior first baseman Haley Lawrence, and a single from Walters loaded the bases, and a single from Kish and a Senators error resulted in two Charger runs. A two-out, 2-RBI single from freshman Emma Johnson produced two more runs.
“There were multiple people who don’t usually get many at-bats who stepped up and performed that game, so that was really good,” Walters said.
Hillsdale, currently ranked fourth in the G-MAC, will finish out the conference season with five doubleheaders over the next 10 days, beginning with a home doubleheader tomorrow at 3:30 against Malone University (12 – 8, 5 – 5 G-MAC).
“We need to finish off these last 10 games strong,” Abraham said. “All season, we haven’t gotten really hot or really cold. We’ve just been, for the most part, slightly over .500. So now that we’re on the home stretch, it would be nice for us to get on a hot streak going into the tournament.”