Pictures courtesy of Trey Powers
The softball team took the field on a warm Sunday afternoon to play a double-header against Nichols College, winning both games 5-3 and 2-0, respectively.
Freshman Juliet Hulme took the mound for the Hawks to start the first game. The Nichols Bison scored just four batters into the game off a double to left field, but Hulme retired the next two batters to end the inning. In the second, the Hawks found themselves in trouble when the Bison notched two more runs, making the score 3-0.
“We have a mentality of never giving up and just giving it our all. Our team is good at not getting down on ourselves,” Hulme said. “We did a good job of picking each other up when we were in a jam, and we did a good job of just getting right out of it.”
In the bottom of the second, the Hawks started their comeback. Juniors Julianne Vesce and Valerie Moran both singled to left field then advanced on a wild pitch. Freshman Taylor Chatowsky was hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases for junior Alicia McCauley. McCauley popped up to the right fielder, but the hit was deep enough to let the runner score from third.
Hulme faced three batters in the third inning and struck out each one. The Hawks stood tall on defense, allowing just two hits from the third inning through the fifth.
“I was really proud of [Hulme],” said junior shortstop Haley Ledbetter. “I mean, our defense was lacking a little bit in the beginning and she just powered through and did her job,”
In the bottom of the fifth, the Hawks took over the lead. McCauley hit a single to left field and was moved to second on a bunt by freshman Tara Chatowsky. On a play designed to sacrifice the batter, Chatowsky outran the throw to first. A walk loaded the bases for freshman Alyssa Murray, who hit a double to left field. As the Nichols outfielder scrambled to locate the ball, all three runners who were on base touched home, giving the Hawks a 4-3 lead.
In the sixth, the Hawks added some insurance to their lead starting with a bunt by Chatowsky. On a sacrifice bunt by McCauley, Chatowsky moved to second. She picked her head up and saw no one covering third, which resulted in an extra base. Chatowsky flew out to right field but advanced the runner home, giving the Hawks a 5-3 lead.
“It just built on our momentum and we wanted to keep it going,” Hulme says.
In the top of the seventh, Hulme recorded one out before being replaced by freshman Maddie Reis. She retired the first batter she saw and then intentionally walked the next one to load the bases. With an out available at any base, Reis made short work of her next opponent as a grounder to first base which ended the game.
In the second game of the double-header, the Hawks started Reis on the mound. In the bottom of the first, Moise reached on an error and ended up on third before Ledbetter singled to left and drove in Moise for the first run on the game.
The Hawks fielders held the Bison hitless until the top of the fifth, but quickly recorded the final out before the Bison could generate anything else.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ledbetter walked and Vesce hit a single to left field. Sophomore catcher Micaela Pohl, singled to left field, driving Ledbetter home for the second run of the game. The Hawks retired three consecutive Bison batters to end the game, giving them a 2-0 victory.
Coach Joyce Maudie celebrated her 500th career win this game. Maudie has coached the Hawks since 2011, but has coached for many universities across the country, including Mississippi, Indiana, and Tennessee. The team signed a ball for their coach to commemorate her milestone.
The team is now 11-9 overall and 4-0 in Commonwealth Coast Conference play. Their next home matchup is Friday, April 7 against fellow CCC opponent Eastern Nazarene College at 3 p.m.