The Amherst softball team took on a full slate of games this past week, playing Western New England University (WNE) on the road before facing rival Williams Ephs in a three-game NESCAC series. In another successful week for the Mammoths — their penultimate week of the regular season — the team earned three wins in four games and gained momentum heading into their final two regular-season series. They won their first three games by a combined score of 24-6 before a close 3-2 loss to the Ephs to end the weekend.
First up for the Mammoths was a trip down I-91 to Springfield to take on the Golden Bears. In an offensive explosion, the Mammoths only took five innings to bury the Bears, winning the contest 11-1 by the eight-run mercy rule.
It was dominance from the start for Amherst, who got on the board three times with two outs in the first inning of play. After Rachel Lovejoy ’23 was hit by a pitch and stole second, Dani Torres Werra ’25, Jess Butler ’23, and Sadie Pool ’24 recorded consecutive singles to plate three Mammoth runs before the Bears could record the final out to take a 3-0 lead.
WNE narrowed their deficit to two shortly after, but that was as close as they would come, as Amherst pulled away in the top of the third. Torres Werra and Butler both notched singles before Pool was hit by the Bears’ pitcher to load the bases. From there, a wild pitch and base hits by Randi Finklestein ’24, America Rangel ’25, and Autumn Lee ’23 scored every subsequent Mammoth baserunner, extending the lead to 10-1. One more insurance run put the final score at 11-1, ending the game.
This offensive explosion was an omen of what was to come in their next series, with Amherst again scoring 11 runs in their first win on the road against Williams on Friday. But it was Lovejoy who was the star of this outing, as she notched five RBIs in the contest. She started by scoring Megan Taketa ’23 on a sacrifice fly to put the Mammoths up 1-0, before hitting a two-run homer in the third for RBIs number two and three, giving the Mammoths a 3-0 lead. Her fourth and fifth RBIs of the game came on a two-run double in the fifth that put Amherst up 9-3. Those RBIs were a part of a three-run Mammoths inning that put the game out of reach. At the beginning of their half of the fifth frame, they were up by only three runs and had lost control of the momentum after two Eph home runs in the bottom of the fourth. Two innings of lead-maintenance later, the Mammoths came away with an 11-5 victory.
Saturday’s first contest, this one at home, was a little different for the Mammoths. The week’s earlier offensive fireworks were traded for a defensive battle in which the first run was not scored until the sixth inning. The Mammoths broke the stalemate in their half of the inning, when a Pool single, followed by a series of Eph errors, led to two runs being plated on one play. An insurance run later in the frame, brought in by a Rangel single, was all the Mammoths needed to notch a 2-0 win. Bloxham was stellar from the circle, getting her seventh win of the season by way of a shutout, giving up only five hits and one walk in six innings. Werra finished the game in relief, allowing just one hit and getting the save.
However, the team’s luck ran out in game two of the Saturday doubleheader. After Williams took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, the Mammoths rallied to tie the game on runs in the fourth and the sixth innings. Taketa scored both runs, reaching base on an error and coming around to score on a Lee grounder in the fourth, and then scoring on a Pool sacrifice fly in the sixth. But it wasn’t enough — a Williams triple with one out in the seventh put the Ephs in scoring position. Soon after, a ground out to first scored the lead runner, and the Ephs prevented the sweep in tight fashion, winning 3-2 over the Mammoths.
Softball will close their season with a doubleheader against Keene State College on Wednesday, April 27, and a final NESCAC series against Little Three rival Wesleyan on Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, with the Little Three Championship on the line. Friday’s game will be at home, while all others will be on the road.