It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In their home debut on Saturday, softball won once and lost once against the Marietta College Pioneers (Marietta, Ohio) of the Ohio Athletic Conference. A solid defensive effort helped Kenyon tab a 5-2 win in the first game, though the team proceeded to drop the second contest 15-4.
“Playing on our home field was a whole new experience,” Grace Pilz ’19 said. “Having friends and professors out there watching us added pressure but it made it more fun.”
The Ladies started off their home season strong in their return from early-season games in Florida. Sound defense and a great pitching effort from Austen Whibley ’19 shut down Marietta (10-10) in the first game. Whibley and the Ladies’ defense allowed only three Pioneers to reach base through the first six innings.
In all, Whibley gave up only two runs on five hits and picked up her seventh win of the season. Molly O’Connor ’16 sparked the Ladies offensively with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first. In the fifth, Madi Maldonado ’18 doubled, driving home Jane Ghublikian ’16, and Lindsay Susolik ’16 scored following an error in the sixth. O’Connor led the Kenyon attack with three hits and three runs batted in, while Ghublikian added two hits.
The second game was a different story. After seeing a game’s worth of pitches, Marietta had Whibley figured out. Seven runs later in the second inning, the Pioneers never looked back. Even with Susolik’s three-RBI performance, including a home run, the Ladies couldn’t catch Marietta and the Pioneers went on to win the game.
The Ladies’ split came following a 10-day post-Florida break; their record now stands at 11-8-1. The team was glad to get back to playing, as they move toward conference play. Six talented first years are all looking to make an immediate impact for the Ladies.
“Florida was a good time for us to get used to playing together,” Nicole Horita ’18 said. “We were able to come together as a more cohesive unit.”
“We still have a lot of room to grow, which is very exciting,” Head Coach Erin O’Neill ’02 said. “The sky is the limit.”
In a doubleheader against the Otterbein University Cardinals (Westerville, Ohio; 15-3-2) on Wednesday, the Ladies won their first game 12-11, then tied the second 6-6.
Kenyon went down by three runs in the seventh inning of the first game, but Whibley hit a home run to make the score 11-9. The Ladies scored two more times before Susolik made the game-winning play, a single into center field to advance Ghublikian over home plate.
The teams traded blows in the second game before reaching an offensive stall. Kenyon scored in the fourth inning to gain the 6-5 lead, then neither team scored in the fifth or sixth. In the seventh innning, Meg Garner of Otterbein scored Bailey McElwain with a double to tie the score at 6-6, and the game ended in a draw.
The Ladies next play Saturday, when they begin conference play at Oberlin College (1-18).