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The Scarlet & Black

Softball has a weekend of ups and downs

Melissa Anderson ’18 pitching last weekend versus Monmouth College. Anderson pitched a shoutout, allowing only four hits. Photo by Minh Tran

Sam Curry

Melissa Anderson ’18 pitching last weekend versus Monmouth College.  Anderson pitched a shoutout, allowing only four hits. Photo by Minh Tran
Melissa Anderson ’18 pitching last weekend versus Monmouth College. Anderson pitched a shoutout, allowing only four hits. Photo by Minh Tran

The Grinnell softball team tasted both the sweet thrill of victory and a bitter dash of defeat this past week, taking both games of a double header against Ripon College last Saturday only to drop both games of a twin billing against Carroll University on Monday.

The Pioneers won the first game against Ripon 6–4, facilitated by a strong starting pitching performance by Melissa Anderson ’18 and equally strong relief appearance by Maggie Remus ’18. Grinnell took an early lead, but three errors in the sixth inning pushed Anderson out of the game and allowed Ripon to move within one run. Grinnell responded in the seventh as Kayla Morrissey ’18 pushed across two runs and after that Ripon never seriously threatened Grinnell’s lead again.

The true excitement, however, came in the second game of the day as the two teams piled up runs and late inning drama in an 11–10 Grinnell victory. The game did not start out well for Grinnell, as Ripon scored seven runs in the second inning on the back of two errors and six hits. One of Grinnell’s strengths this season has been their ability to bounce back from deficits and they were able to utilize this skill to pull themselves back into contention against Ripon.

“The Ripon games started kind of rough for us, but in both games we came together as a team,” said Mikyla Murphy ’19. “We had some inspirational pep talks, and we just had to go back to what we had been working on in the preseason.”

The Pioneers collected themselves in the bottom of the second inning and scored six runs to narrow the deficit to one, but Ripon scored two runs in the third inning to take back the lead. Heading into the final frame, Grinnell found themselves down by three, looking for something special. After loading the bases, Andi Leff ’18 delivered just what the team needed by roping a bases-clearing triple to right field to tie the game.

“She had been hitting the ball hard all day, but just right at people and she finally got one over the right fielder’s head,” said head coach Amanda Reckamp.

Leff’s game-tying triple set the stage for Murphy to win the game and she did not waste any time in collecting her fourth hit of the day, and the first walk-off of her college career.

“Mikyla, whose been hitting incredibly well, the very next pitch … ripped a single up the middle to win the game,” Reckamp said.

Despite the high stakes situation, Murphy motivated herself to focus on the task at hand.

“I really just needed to put the ball out there somewhere in the green. Andi is fast, she’s going to score, it just needs to be out in the green,” Murphy said. “I kept telling myself, ‘Andi needs you’ … Thankfully it only lasted one pitch so I wasn’t too in my head at that point,” Murphy said.

The team unfortunately was not able to sustain their momentum in the doubleheader against Carroll on Monday, losing the first game 7–0 and the second game 12–7.

The two sweep series, in victory and defeat, emphasized the potential benefits and challenges of constantly adopting a “let’s play two” mentality.

“If we start out not really hitting well in the first game, we are able to use the time between games to refocus,” Anderson said. “We have better hitting in the second game than the first game.”

The games moved the Pioneers to 12–7 overall on the season, and 4–2 in Conference play. Fans can catch the softball team in action next weekend when they host two sets of double headers versus Illinois College Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. and Lake Forest College Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m.

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