With 2 Walkoffs, Softball Sweeps Weekend Doubleheader

In their first home doubleheader of the young season, the softball team battled the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Engineers in two close contests this past Saturday. The Mammoths earned two hard-fought wins, highlighted by late-game heroics from several players.

With 2 Walkoffs, Softball Sweeps Weekend Doubleheader
Virginia Ryan '22 (No. 10) celebrates with her teammates. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios.

The Mammoths took on Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 26, where they came out on top in both games. Amherst swept the Engineers, winning 3-2 in the first game and 5-4 in the second.

Game 1

The Mammoths started the day off strong in the bottom of the second inning, as Jess Butler ’23 crushed a ball to left field for a two-run homer. The blast scored Rachel Lovejoy ’23 from second and gave the Mammoths an early 2-0 lead.

At the top of the fourth inning, the Engineers tied the game with two runs against starting pitcher Dani Torres Werra ’25, though only one was earned.

The Mammoths had a prime opportunity to take the lead in the sixth inning. Autumn Lee ’23 singled with one out in the frame. Lovejoy followed up with a walk and, following a Mammoth strikeout, Butler walked as well, which loaded the bases with two outs. However, a strikeout halted the Mammoth advance, and the game remained knotted at two.

The seventh inning was much of the same, so the two teams entered extra innings. As per the international tiebreaker rule, each team began the eighth inning with a runner on second base and zero outs.

Audrey Orlowski ’23, who came on in relief in the sixth inning, remained on the mound for the eighth inning and got three consecutive outs, two with fly balls and the third with a ground out to third.

The Mammoths then had a perfect opportunity to clinch the victory in the bottom half of the inning. Speedy leadoff hitter Megan Taketa ’23 started on second base for the Mammoths and quickly demonstrated her prowess on the basepaths. After a ground ball was hit to the shortstop, Taketa waited until the exact moment when the ball was thrown to advance to third base, just barely beating the throw from third to first. With Taketa on third and only one out in the inning, Lee strode to the plate and hit a fly ball to left field, allowing Taketa to score the winning run on the sacrifice fly without a play at the plate.

Orlowski registered the win in game one. She allowed one hit and one walk throughout her three scoreless innings before Lee’s walk-off sealed the Mammoths’ first victory of the weekend.

Game 2

Despite the long and mentally taxing first game, there was another one still to play, and this one was just as close. The Engineers struck first, jumping out to a 2-0 lead after the first two innings of play, but the Mammoths scored two runs in the third to tie the game. Following a two-run sixth inning from WPI, the Mammoths then trailed the Engineers 4-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning.

Orlowski, a key factor on the mound in the previous game, got the ball rolling from the plate in the final frame with a single to center field. Taketa quickly capitalized on the momentum, hitting a line drive to left field to become the second Mammoth to reach base. The two of them advanced to second and third, respectively, when they took advantage of a wild pitch.

WPI immediately made a pitching change to face Lee, but she was walked by the Engineers’ new pitcher. Up next was Lovejoy, who brought in a run with yet another walk, cutting the Mammoths’ deficit to one run, 4-3.

Butler, who homered in the first game but had yet to register a hit in the second, stepped up to the plate with the bases still loaded and only one out. She roped a single between first and second base to bring Taketa and Lee home, clinching the second walk-off victory of the day with a 5-4 win for the Mammoths.

Orlowski tallied her second win of the day on the mound, again coming on in relief and holding the Engineers scoreless through 1.2 innings of work. Though the Mammoths only had four hits, they still got on base, registering seven walks in the contest.

“Our games this weekend were great,” Devynn Wilderman ’25 said. “Even though they were close, we stayed in the games and pulled through in the end.”

After their doubleheader against Western New England University on Wednesday, March 30, was postponed, the Mammoths look to open NESCAC play over the weekend, playing three games over two days against Middlebury College on April 1 and 2. The first game on Friday is set to begin at 5 p.m.