Softball cruises past Wilson
In all three of its losses this season, the Northwestern softball team had runners on base. But in all of those setbacks the Tigers failed to get enough of those baserunners across the plate.
Monday against Wilson, the Tigers focused on getting runs in and they achieved that goal. They beat the Warriors 10-0 in six innings with their runs coming on 11 hits in the game.
“It was something that was missing the past three games,” said Northwestern head coach Josh Zimmerman. “We were getting hits but we were scattering them a lot.
“Today we were finally able to string a couple hits together in key spots. We talked about being clutch the past couple days and they really stepped up and rose to the challenge.”
Senior Kayla Mitman hit a bases-loaded triple to break the game open in the second inning, while teammate Ashley Sisco reached base four times in the game and drove in a pair of runs.
Junior pitcher Emily Akelaitis allowed just three Wilson hits and pitched around four errors by her team.
With a 1-0 lead in the second inning, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out, bringing up Mitman. She poked a line drive to the fence for a triple, giving her team a 4-0 lead.
“It was a low outside pitch,” said Mitman. “It felt great. I was relaxed in there. I knew I had to do my job. I was thinking all I need was a sacrifice fly and I got a line drive to clear the bases.”
A single from Akelaitis scored another run in the inning, and one more came home on one of Sisco’s four hits for a 6-0 lead after two innings.
The Warriors put runners on base in each of the first four innings, but each time Akelaitis was able to get out of the jam. She came up with a strike out to end the first inning with two Warriors on base. She induced a ground out to end the second inning with another pair of Wilson runners on base.
In the third inning the Tiger defense came up with some plays, snagging a pair of line drives to get the final two outs and stand two more Warriors on the bases.
In the fifth inning, Akelaitis started a double play to eliminate a no-out Warriors baserunner.
“Our defense needs to get better, but we’re getting better every day,” said Mitman. “I think we need a few more practices. I think it will come by the end of the week.”
While the Tigers made some great plays on defense, they also missed some routine ones. The errors didn’t seem to bother Akelaitis on the mound.
“That speaks to her character in being able to step up and battle when things start going wrong,” said Zimmerman. “She’s the one we rally around.”
Northwestern almost finished off Wilson in the fifth inning, scoring three runs after Sisco and Gina Marrazzo (2-for-3) came up with back-to-back doubles to start the inning. The Tigers brought in one run on Natalie Smith’s single. Another scored on a Cassidy Lentz sacrifice fly, and an RBI single from Anna Akelaitis made it 9-0 in the fifth.
Emily Akelaitis and Molly Mitman led off the sixth with singles before Marrazzo singled with one out to drive in the mercy-rule clinching run.
The Tigers, and most teams in the area, have a good reason for being behind defensively. They held only one outdoor practice all season.
Northwestern (3-3 overall, 3-2 Colonial League) is in the midst of a busy week. After Monday’s game against Wilson, they were scheduled to take on Kutztown on Tuesday, Palmerton on Wednesday, Salisbury on Thursday and Saucon Valley Saturday at Pates Park.
“It’s good to an extent because then we can just focus on playing,” Emily Akelaitis said. “That’s why we practice is to get out here and play. Right now just getting out here is nice.
“This week we’re just going to take it one game at a time and we want to go 5-for-5.”