In the midst of tough 1-3 start, the Ladies receive strong contributions from infielder Lauren Graf ’20.
The Ladies softball team weathered a busy start to its season, playing four games between Saturday and Sunday and emerging with a record of 1-3. The Ladies played better over the course of these four games than their rather pedestrian record would indicate, as the team had a negative run differential of just three runs. Lauren Graf ’20 had an outstanding collegiate debut, winning North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Player of the Week for her weekend performance.
The team’s season opened with a game against Rhodes College (Memphis, Ten.), which hosted Kenyon and Webster University this weekend for six games overall at their field in Memphis, Tenn. The game against Rhodes got off to a rocky start, as the Ladies did not score in the top of the first before the Lynx offense broke out for eight runs in the bottom of the inning. After that eight-run eruption in the opening frame, the Ladies actually outscored their opponents over the final six innings. The Ladies were able to get two runs back in the top of the third inning, when Britny Patterson ’19 cranked her first homerun of the season to score Amanda Ogata ’19, who had just singled. Grace Pilz ’19 knocked in two runs in the top of the fifth inning with a double to right field. The game ended with a final score of 13-7.
Later that day, the Ladies took on Webster in the first game of the season for the Gorloks. The Ladies struck first, jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning that was capped by a two-run double from Pilz. That lead didn’t last for long, as the Gorloks scored three runs of their own in the first inning and another run in the third to go up 4-3. While the Ladies had two more three-run innings, Webster used a five-run bottom of the fifth and a run in the bottom of the sixth to keep the game tied after six frames. The game ended 11-10 in the bottom of the seventh when the Gorloks had a walk-off hit. Graf was a bright spot in the loss, knocking out three hits while scoring two runs.
Kenyon got a chance for revenge against the Gorloks on Sunday morning but once again dropped a close game, this time losing 6-5 in extra innings. The two teams played evenly through seven innings, but a sacrifice bunt put the Gorloks ahead in the eighth inning. The Ladies were unable to match in the bottom of the frame. Graf had another big offensive game with two hits, including her first career double, and Amanda Coyle ’18 had a triple and a stolen base.
In their fourth and final game of the busy weekend, the Ladies played Rhodes College for a second time in two days, riding an offensive outburst to their first victory of 2017. Tied at one entering the fourth inning, Kenyon scored eight runs in their highest scoring frame of the young season. The Ladies put the game away in the seventh, scoring three runs to end the day with a 12-8 win. Keely Sweet ’20 picked up the victory, pitching a complete game while allowing just three earned runs.
On Monday, Graf was announced as the North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week in the first week of her athletic career at the collegiate level. Graf went 10-17 over the weekend with four RBI and six runs. Graf was happy with the award but does not want the focus to be on her as opposed to the whole team. “It was definitely unexpected, but a nice surprise,” Graf said. “I’m very excited for the season ahead of us. Each day and every game will provide new experiences, and I’m grateful for all of them.”
The Ladies will next play on March 5, when they open their Spring Break slate of games in Florida against Rivier College and Elms College.