Section: Softball

Softball struggles against tough non-conference opponents

The Kenyon softball team opened its 2023 campaign with a trip to Florida over spring break. Despite strong performances throughout the trip, the Owls struggled against tough non-conference opponents.

With a young roster, the Owls’ spring break trip offered a chance for the team to grow closer in the warmer weather. In an email to the Collegian, Madison Buckwalter ’26 highlighted the time the team spent off the field as helping the team to bond: “I finally understood what it was like to be a part of the [Kenyon softball] family, because that is what we became by the end of our trip.” 

Kenyon opened play in the Sunshine State with a game against the United States Coast Guard Academy (Conn.) on March 5. Maddie Friday ’24 scored the Owls’ first run of the season, putting Kenyon up 1-0 in the first inning. Unfortunately, the Bears took the lead in the next inning and never looked back, taking the game 8-1. In the second half of the doubleheader, Kenyon fell 7-4 to Catholic University (D.C.) in a tight contest.

 The Owls’ offense struggled the next day, as Kenyon went scoreless against both Misericordia University (Pa.) and York College (Pa.). A bases-clearing double in the fourth inning helped Misericordia to a 7-0 win. Against York, pitcher Sofia Zayas ’26 and the Owls’ defense worked to limit the Spartans to one run on six hits, but Kenyon’s bats were quiet in the 1-0 defeat.

After dropping a 10-2 game to Illinois College, Kenyon picked up its first win of the season against Marian University (Ind.). Though Zayas allowed two runs in the top of the first, the Owls responded with a four-run outburst in the home half. After Maeve McLaughlin ’26 drove in two runs, Buckwalter gave Kenyon the lead with a two-run home run. The Knights regained the lead in the third inning, but the Owls responded with four straight singles to go ahead 7-5. Kenyon tacked on three more insurance runs, while Zayas and the Owls’ defense kept the Knights off the board for the rest of the game. 

Buckwalter credited her teammates for creating positive energy in the dugout throughout the contest. “There was some spark of energy that came from the beginning and grew when we started to string together hits, getting people on bases, and getting those people around the bases,” she said. For Zayas, the win came down to a complete performance from the entire team. “I personally found success in the circle by trusting myself and staying locked in through the full seven innings, as well as trusting the defense behind me,” she wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Collectively as a team, we had high energy throughout the game, and our offense showed up big time (12 hits) which really helped us in taking home the W.”

Unfortunately, the Owls could not continue their momentum when they returned to play on March 9. After falling 8-0 to Husson University (Maine), Kenyon lost 8-3 to No. 21 University of Rochester.

The Owls returned to the field the next day, where they suffered a pair of mercy-rule losses to the University of Mount Union and the College of Saint Benedict (Minn.).  

On March 12, Kenyon faced another pair of tough opponents. Kenyon out-hit Farmingdale State College (N.Y.) in the opening game 9-5, but the Rams capitalized on the Owls’ errors and walks to win 9-4. Facing a ranked opponent in No. 9 Bethel University (Minn.), Kenyon fell by a final score of 13-1.

Two days later, Kenyon played a close game against Washington College (Md.). Allison McCutchen ’26 was solid in the circle for the Owls, allowing only three runs (two earned) on six hits over five innings of work. Unfortunately, Kenyon’s offense struggled to score runs. Though the Owls strung together six hits, they could only muster one run in the 3-1 loss. Kenyon lost to Amherst College (Mass.) 8-0. 

Kenyon capped off its spring break trip with a doubleheader against Arcadia University on March 15. The Owls dropped both games 9-0, as Kenyon could only muster three hits across the two games.

Buckwalter believes that the Owls can use their record as fuel for the rest of the season. “None of us are proud to return to campus with a 1-15 record, it’s embarrassing,” she said. “But now that we are back on campus, I am hoping that the sting that we feel thinking about our record in Florida would force us to have that mental toughness and grit which we lacked, and fight for our wins.”

Kenyon will next play on Saturday, when the Owls travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face Capital University.


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