Richard Pera, Staff Writer
The Kenyon softball team ended a five-game conference losing streak on Saturday with a pair of victories over the College of Wooster, 8-0 and 2-1. The wins preserved the Ladies’ faint hopes of qualification for the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) playoffs.
Game one was Kenyon’s most impressive showing since the team’s Spring Break trip. The Ladies struck first with a two-run blast to left field by Chelsea Delaney ’15.
That was all the home team needed as pitcher Maddy Stark ’15 shut down Wooster, tossing a one-hit shutout. The Ladies added two runs in the fourth inning off a double by Jane Ghublikian ’16, and scored four in the fifth inning to seal the win for the Ladies and victory for Stark.
“We were super pumped up and everyone was really positive,” Sylvie Thomas ’17 said. “I feel like we came out more competitive. Sometimes we underestimate teams and that can hurt us. But we definitely didn’t [this time]. We played our game.”
Game two was much closer. Stark started again and tossed a complete game, surrendering just one run on two hits. Her eight strikeouts on the afternoon made her Kenyon’s all-time strikeout queen. The Ladies touched home first when Stark helped her own cause and scored on a wild pitch.
After Wooster tied it in the third inning, a sacrifice fly by third baseman Lindsey Susolik ’16 was the game-winning RBI as Kenyon hung on for the 2-1 win and sweep.
On Monday, the team hosted a doubleheader with non-conference foe Capital University — games that were postponed multiple times due to weather. The Ladies hoped to ride the momentum from the wins over Wooster, but were doomed by mental miscues.
Game one included five lead changes over eight innings. Kenyon reclaimed the lead in the second inning with a Ghublikian RBI double. After the Crusaders tied it up at four, the Ladies regained the lead once more in the fifth inning with a squeeze play by second baseman Liz Paterra ’15.
Kenyon was one out away from winning when Capital leveled the contest to send the game to extra innings. In the following inning, the Crusaders scored the go-ahead run on a squeeze bunt. In the bottom half, the Ladies advanced Paterra to third base with one out but failed to bring her home, sealing the 6-5 loss.
Thomas started game two and pitched well through the first four innings. Kenyon and Capital traded runs until Capital broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning with a three-run burst, aided by well-timed hits and a Kenyon fielding error. The game was called after six innings due to darkness, with the Ladies falling 5-2.
While Kenyon and Capital combined for 34 hits on the afternoon, it was the Ladies’ four errors that were the most telling statistic. The team has been struggling to play consistently over the past weeks, and while it did so against Wooster, the series against Capital proved to be a letdown.
“There’s a lot that can be improved,” Thomas said. “That’s what is going to be important this week, is learning from our mistakes. We still have to work on our mental aspect of the game. It comes down to believing and visualizing success. Winning every inning and every at-bat.”
The Ladies (19-15, 4-8 NCAC) next face defending conference champion Allegheny College in Gambier this Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, Kenyon will travel to archrival Denison University. For both doubleheaders, the opening pitch is slated for 1 p.m.
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