Puget Sound softball got off to a bit of a rough start this season with the team losing its first 31 games.
This weekend, however, the short-staffed Loggers (2-35, 2-24 NWC) turned it around with back-to-back wins over visiting Willamette (14-20, 10-14 NWC) on Saturday, April 13.
In game one, freshman Megan Campbell (Seattle, Wash.) delivered a superb pitching performance in her first win of the season, giving up just three hits and one run in seven innings to help the Loggers clinch the 2-1 victory.
The Bearcats’ lone run came in the second inning off an RBI single, and the Loggers quickly fought back to even the game in the third thanks to a Willamette error and a double off the bat of junior Taylor Jones (Keizer, Ore.), which scored senior Amy Schmeckpeper (Boise, Idaho) from second.
In the fifth, junior Jennica Holt (Pleasonton, Calif.) hit a double to score the game-winning run.
While game one spotlighted a pitching duel, game two of the doubleheader featured an offensive battle between the two teams, with the Loggers narrowly edging the Bearcats 13-12 to capture their second win of the season.
Both teams scored runs right off the bat, but the Loggers took an early 5-1 lead. The real action occurred in the fourth inning. In the top of the inning, the Bearcats’ offense picked up speed to score ten runs, yet Puget Sound quickly evened the game at 11-11, scoring six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Loggers added two more runs in the fifth inning, and the Bearcats’ single run in the seventh was not enough to prevent a Logger victory. Notable offensive players for the Loggers included Jones, who had three hits, and Schmeckpeper, who went 4-5. Freshman Lisa Colombo (Los Gatos, Calif.) and junior Chelsea Lindroth (Everett, Wash.) also combined to score three runs.
“The team definitely came together for the doubleheader against Willamette on Saturday. Both offensively and defensively, everyone came out with the intensity, drive and motivation to capture the first wins of the season. It was such a gratifying experience to see everyone’s hard work pay off,” Jones said.
“In ending this season strong, I definitely think it will have a positive impact on the momentum going into next season. Aside from the memorable wins this weekend, I was extremely appreciative of the support given by the entire University’s athletic community,” she continued.
“I feel so blessed to be a part of such an encouraging group, and I want to thank all of the student athletes, coaches and faculty members for their congratulatory uplift!”
On Sunday, April 14, the Loggers returned to the field for another double-header against the nationally-ranked Linfield Wildcats (31-6, 23-3 NWC).
Linfield got off to a quick offensive start in game one—scoring three runs in the first inning—and never looked back. They outhit the Loggers by 15 hits to five, and held Puget Sound to only two runs.
A six-run sixth inning solidified a solid lead for the Wildcats, who emerged victorious with a 12-2 win over the Loggers. Campbell (1-28) took the loss on the mound for Puget Sound.
Game two followed in a similar fashion, with Linfield outscoring Puget Sound 10-2 and capitalizing on seven Logger errors.
This season has proven to be a period of transition for the Loggers, as first-year head coach Kellyn Tate settles into her new job and the team works to overcome injuries and a shortage of players.
As this weekend has shown, however, there is plenty of talent and potential to go around. The future may be bright indeed for Puget Sound softball.
PHOTO COURTESY/MATTHEW DAVIS