By Michael Otero
Runs were at a premium in both games on Thursday, March 24, in the softball team’s double-header against the University of Bridgeport in Brookville, N.Y. With a combined five hits in the contest, the Pioneers were able to come out on top because they strung their base runners together.
Scoreless in the fourth inning, the Pioneers broke through with a two-run shot of the bat of freshman catcher Julia Seader. That was all the offense that junior pitcher Ashley Martin would need. Martin went the distance, allowing just two hits and fanning 11 Knights to earn her fifth win on the season. Martin’s counterpart, Alyssa Bua, pitched well enough for a win, but didn’t get the run-support necessary. The Pioneers came out on top 2-0.
In the latter game, the Pioneer offense managed to do its part and plate enough runs to squeak out another victory. The Pioneers opened the scoring in the second inning when senior third baseman Maria Palmeri smashed a solo shot. However, that lead was short lived, as Knights outfielder Kaila Crandall liked Palmeri’s style and did the same; launching a solo home run to even the score at one in the fourth inning. The scoring ceased from then up until the seventh inning.
Commanding the circle for the Pioneers was freshman Hannah Olshevski, who threw a complete game, surrendering just two hits and striking out three. In the Pioneer last half of the seventh inning, they put the pressure on the Knights defense when they loaded the bases with nobody out and the winning run standing on third base. Freshman shortstop Leah Mele drove in the winning run with a fly ball to right field that was deep enough to plate sophomore outfielder Jaclyn Hahn for the walk-off win.
The Pioneers were able to give their bullpen a day off as both starters tossed complete games. It’s pretty hard for the opposition to score when you don’t allow many hits and play good defense. That’s exactly what the Pioneers did. They committed one error in the two games and their pitchers allowed a combined four hits.
Martin and Olshevski were at it again on Saturday, March 26, when they hosted St. Thomas Aquinas College. Both girls continued their stellar outings against Bridgeport and paced two Pioneer shutout victories.
In the first game, the lone run of the match came via an error in the field in the fifth inning. Sophomore infielder Claire Travis, who legged out an infield single earlier in the inning, came around to score on a throw by St. Thomas’ Kelcy McGeehan which airmailed its intended target allowing Travis to advance home.
Martin, coming off a performance where she allowed zero runs on four hits, went out to the circle and did it again. She went all seven innings and allowed four hits and struck out eight. The Pioneers won by a score of 1-0.
In the second game, the Pioneers rode the arm of Olshevski, who surrendered one hit in a complete game victory for the Pioneers where they plated five runs. Although Olshevksi didn’t need that much run support, the Pioneers supplied plenty to go around. They opened the scoring in the second inning when sophomore outfielder Samantha Marrone drove in a run with a single and plated two more runs in the third inning on another RBI single and a run scoring base on balls. The Pioneers tacked on two more runs in the fifth and sixth innings with an RBI double by sophomore designated hitter Emily DeVito and an RBI single by Palmeri.
Olshevksi again went the distance and allowed zero runs. She didn’t strike out any hitters either, so the Pioneer defense was on its toes all game and they responded well.
The Pioneers improved their record to 13-5 and are undefeated in conference play. Over their last six games, the Pioneers are 6-0 and have allowed just three runs.
Head Coach Jamie Apicella and his team return to the field on Wednesday, March 30, when they visit Queens College for a doubleheader. Game-time is set for 3 p.m.