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Sports

Softball steps up to bat

By Sirianna Santacrose ’15

April 25, 2013

Last Thursday afternoon, the Hamilton women’s softball team added two additional wins to their overall record in a double-header against SUNY Potsdam. They had an impressive 5-0 win over the non-NESCAC competitor in the first game, followed by an 8-5 win later in the day. April 18 was not only significant because it was senior day, but also because these were the first two games of the season that the team was able to play at home due to previous postponements and inclement weather conditions. The wins were all the more meaningful because, as Coach Spicer explained, “It’s been a long time since the seniors have had a senior day and won the game.” Two additional victories against Cazenovia College on April 24 boosted softball’s overall record to 11-18, while their NESCAC record remains at 1-8.

Coach Spicer said playing at home definitely benefited the team’s mentality and overall performance. “Any time you play at home, you have the home field advantage,” he explained. Kelly Leonard ’15, who had six strikeouts in both the first and second games and who went 2-for-4 at bat, said, “It felt great to finally have the chance to play on our home field and even better to have those game end in wins.”

Olivia Gozdz ’16 shined in the second game, rounding out her total hits so far this year to 40, which tied her for the school record. She has had at least one hit in eight straight games including these two. Gozdz noted that this statistic came as a bit of a surprise. “I didn’t know that I was contending for the school record until after the game when Coach Liz shook my hand and told me congratulations... I just play my game and don’t worry about the stats [because] to me, they’re just numbers.”

In the first game, Gozdz drove in a run, and seniors Melissa Kaknis and Lisa Faraci each had one hit and one RBI. Though Potsdam had its first hit in the third inning, the Conts took the lead 1-0 thanks to Leonard’s score off of Gozdz’s sacrifice fly to left field. Three more runs by the Conts in the fourth, followed by an additional run in the fifth by Gozdz, brought the final score to 5-0.

In the second game, first-year Lauren Fairman completed her first home run, along with a double and two RBI. After Amy Appel ’13 pitched in the first two innings, Leonard took over and ended up retiring 15 of the 18 Potsdam players that stepped up to base. The Conts scored four times in the first inning due to four Potsdam errors and five Hamilton hits. Although Potsdam took the lead in the second inning with four runs, the combined efforts of Rougeux, who singled with two outs, and Ellie Kiernan ’15, who drove a double, allowed Gozdz to round out the score. Fairman brought the Conts back into the lead with a home run in the third inning. Two additional insurance runs in the fifth inning by Hamilton brought the final score to 8-5.

During these games, the entire team wore pink uniforms to show their support for the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR). The NFCR works to fund cancer research and public education related to prevention, early diagnosis and improved cancer treatments. During the first game against Potsdam, donations were accepted to benefit this organization as part of a campaign called Beat Cancer with a Bat. This annual fundraiser is a way to “help out the community... [and] a way for [the team] to give back,” said Coach Spicer. He added that because “athletics and teams are in the spotlight, ... [doing] things like this helps the program and [is] just another demonstration of good character.”

Looking ahead to the team’s last NESCAC conference games against Williams College this coming weekend, Coach Spicer hopes to carry the momentum the team has already created from its past wins. He said, “If we take what we did against Amherst and... Cazenovia, we should have a successful weekend.” Kiernan also expressed confidence in the team’s ability to perform in its last NESCAC games of the season. “After beating Amherst, we all know that we can beat Williams,” she said. “But,” she added, “we have to continue to be solid in the field and make sure our hitting starts off early and strong.” With tough competition to come against the No. 3 Ephs, the team will need to bolster its confidence and intensity to continue its current winning streak.

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