Section: Sports

Softball sweeps first homestand of season

By Richard Pera | Staff Writer

In their first home games of the season, the Ladies softball team swept winless Houghton College last Friday afternoon, winning 5-0 and 5-1. The Ladies dominated the visiting Highlanders defensively. Maddy Stark ’15 pitched a shutout in game one and Sylvie Thomas ’17 earned the win in game two.

Designated hitter Molly O’Connor ’16 tallied three RBI with her second home run of the season, increasing the Ladies’ lead to five, which held until the final out. In game two, which ended early due to darkness, Kenyon’s bats came alive again, amassing five runs on a two-out rally in the second inning.

The Ladies began the season  in Fort Myers, Fla. during Spring Break, facing 16 opponents during an eight-day stretch. The Ladies posted a 12-4 record, which represents their best Spring Break start under Head Coach Erin O’Neill ’02.

“We have very high expectations of ourselves,” O’Neill said. “We have the talent level. At one point, we were 10-1. But we want better, and two of the games that we lost got away from us.”

Upon her return to Kenyon as head coach in 2011, O’Neill crafted a three-year plan for her team, and they are right on track so far, thanks to solid recruiting classes and the efforts of the players.

“We’re a heck of a lot better this year than we were last year, and even the year before,” she said.

Unpredictable spring weather forced multiple postponements for the team in the past week. A doubleheader against Marietta College on Sunday and a game against Otterbein University on Tuesday were called off. The doubleheader against Marietta has been rescheduled for this Sunday, with the first pitch slated for 1 p.m.

As the Ladies (14-4) wind down their non-conference matchups, they will begin to set their sights on North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) play. In a preseason poll, NCAC coaches predicted Kenyon to finish sixth out of nine teams in the league. O’Neill is hoping to use that as motivation.

“Our goal is to win the conference championship,” O’Neill said. “We’re still playing with a chip on our shoulder. We still haven’t quite gotten the respect we deserve.”


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