Softball shows promise over break

Behind the pitching of Miya Warner ’06, Amherst started the season right on March 14 with a 2-0 win over Framingham State College. Warner struck out 10 and allowed two hits in her complete-game victory. Classmate Rachel Hoerger led the offense with a single, a double and an RBI.

Amherst squared off against St. Lawrence University later that day. Despite a home run from sophomore Laura Trigeiro, a defensive lapse in the fourth inning allowed the Saints nine runs and ultimately the 9-1 win.

Not disheartened, Amherst rebounded Monday with a pair of shutout wins over Defiance and Lasell Colleges. Against Defiance, Warner again showed her pitching prowess with six Ks and just two hits allowed, while rookie Caroline Polales provided the team’s only run after getting on base with a double. Against Lasell, Hilary Little ’07 pitched her first complete game and allowed only six hits. A two-run single from Trigeiro allowed Warner and Elizabeth Staunton ’05 to score.

Amherst added another mark to the win column Tuesday with a narrow, 2-1 win over Salem State College. The Jeffs’ two runs came from Hoerger, who singled then scored on a wild pitch, and Polales, who scored on a fielder’s choice by Little.

After the day off on Wednesday, Amherst returned to the diamond seemingly distracted, suffering back-to-back shutout losses to Fitchburg State (4-0) and Worcester State Colleges (9-0). Despite two singles from Hoerger and one from rookie shortstop Annalise Rodli, Amherst was unable to manufacture any runs in the first game. This trend continued into the second game despite hits from Warner, Trigeiro, Polales and senior Gina Scribner.

The team wrapped up play Friday with a decisive 5-3 win over SUNY Brockport and a tough 6-3 loss to the College of Mount St. Joseph.

Warner’s pitching proved too much for the Golden Eagles, who suffered 12 strikeouts and mustered only six hits. Scribner provided the impetus for the Jeff’s offensive assault, going 2-4 with a bases-loaded triple. Polales and Trigeiro also managed hits in the win.

The team found the trip to be very valuable. “Florida was a really great experience for us,” said Scribner. “We got a chance to see the team come together, and by the final games everyone had gotten into a groove and we were playing really well.”

The team’s success can be billed to their balanced nature both off and on the field. “There was an awesome balance between playing softball and having fun,” said Rodli.

As for their play, “the defense has been absolutely stellar,” said Trigeiro, “and the entire lineup is full of great hitters. Once our bats come alive as they did in the first inning against Brockport, we’ll be a dangerous, fine-tuned hitting machine.”

Despite the emphasis on a total team effort, the efforts of one Jeff in particular deserve mention. “Most impressive has been the play of Greta Anderson [’05],” said Trigeiro. “So far she has been a wall behind the plate.”

Anderson didn’t start catching until this season when, at the last minute, head coach Sue Everden found herself without a catcher. Despite having no collegiate experience, Anderson proved she is fit for the position.

“Greta did an amazing job catching all nine games,” said Warner. “She put in a lot of work the last month learning how to call pitches and it really paid off � I’m already completely comfortable with her behind the plate, she really stepped up when the team needed her.”

As the team looks ahead to the coming weeks, they recognize that some areas need improvement, but are optimistic about the season.

“Our offense wasn’t as strong as we’d hoped,” said Anderson. “We had a lot of trouble bunting especially, but as long as we play our best defense, I think we can beat any team in the NESCAC.”

Amherst hosts Middlebury College at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.