Section: archive

Ladies sweep Oberlin and split with Wittenberg

Ladies sweep Oberlin and split with Wittenberg

By Esteban Bachelet

Softball Head Coach Erin O’Neill started the 2011 season with just nine players and could barely field a team. A year later, an influx of first years provided the program with a much-needed boost. By the start of the 2013 season, 14 of 18 Ladies were either first years or sophmores.

“We’ve built a program over the last three years,” O’Neill said. “We’ve gone through a growing process together.” In other words, the Ladies have found that elusive balance between youth and experience.

After sweeping Oberlin College in a doubleheader last Saturday and splitting another doubleheader against Wittenberg University on Tuesday, the Ladies have improved to 15-6 overall and 3-1 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), surpassing last year’s win total of 13.

“We didn’t have high expectations,” O’Neill said. “We were picked to finish ninth out of nine in the conference.”

The Ladies have pushed themselves into contention. O’Neill understands the reality in staying grounded, however. “We still have a lot more to prove,” she said. “I think the girls are playing with a chip on their shoulder, which is good.”

The Oberlin sweep featured skilled batting combined with fantastic pitching, as the Ladies beat the Yeowomen 8-3 in the first game and 15-6 in the second. “We had a ton of hits from a lot of different people,” O’Neill said.

The Ladies got 30 hits and scored 23 runs over the course of the two games, with 12 in the first game and 18 more during the second game. Senior Emily Prehoda was particularly impressive, scoring three runs and driving in four.

O’Neill attributed the Ladies’ success against Oberlin to confidence and clutch hitting. “When we had runners in scoring position and two outs, we had people coming up with the big hit to drive in the runs,” she said. “Thinking that you are going to hit, expecting to hit, and knowing that you can hit: I think we demonstrated that confidence on Saturday.”

Superb pitching helped as well. Maddy Stark ’15 pitched all 14 innings of the games against Oberlin, giving up a total of 13 runs and striking out 17 batters. She is now 10-1 and earned a second NCAC pitching award this week.

“Our pitching was very good,” O’Neill said. “We had one bad inning in the second game. But other than that, defensively we made the plays we were supposed to make.”

Against Wittenberg, the Ladies jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, but failed to keep it intact. By the fifth inning, the Tigers had rallied to a 4-3 lead, and they went on to beat the Ladies 7-4. The second game was a different story. After going 0-4 in the first game, Chelsea Delaney ’15 came alive at the plate, smashing a homer in the first that put the Ladies up 2-0. Her second homer, a three-run shot, extended the lead to 8-1. The Ladies held off a five-run surge by the Tigers to finish the game 8-6.

O’Neill sees good things ahead for her team. “[The first games of the season in] Florida really prepared us and I think we are playing our best softball right now,” O’Neill said. “We are in the swing of things.”

The Ladies will face non-conference opponent Otterbein University on April 5 in Gambier before returning to NCAC play the following day at Ohio Wesleyan University.

[starbox id=”esteban_bachelet”]


Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at