Author: Donovan Dennis
The Occidental women’s softball team (5-17 overall, 2-10 SCIAC) played a pair of double-headers this weekend falling 11-1 and 4-3 to Pomona-Pitzer and 13-1 and 7-1 against Williams College.
The Tigers played aggressive defense against the Sagehens, only to be plagued by a series of walks in the top of the second. Down 2-0 in the top of the second with the bases loaded, Occidental pitcher Dallas Boyce (first-year) walked Emily Rockill (first-year), delivering a Sagehen run. A center field error led to a triple from Pomona’s Kelsey Buchanan, bringing the tally to 5-0. Another Boyce walk and a single from Susanna Boden (senior) caged the Tigers, taking Pomona to 7-0 before the Tigers took the plate in the bottom of the inning.
Still early in the bottom of the second inning, with runners on first and second base, Dallas Gunny (first-year) found the green in left field, bringing home Kaitlin Cappetto (first-year) for the Tigers’ only run of the morning.
“We should have beat them,” shortstop Samantha Yee (first-year) said. “That first game should have been closer … I think I could have been a little more aggressive defensively—there were a couple of grounders I could have gotten.”
Defense kept the Tigers competitive in the second match-up, and Occidental’s strong infield leadership led by Mariah Montgomery (junior) held Pomona-Pitzer to four runs.
“We are very confident in our infield,” head coach Alison Haehnel said. “Even though they are young, they are applying their years before college well.”
Yee cracked the first Tiger single of the game and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Mackensie Priley (first-year). Another single by Alex Battest (first-year) and a second base error on Gunny’s double brought Yee flying into home on a dirty slide to put the Tigers on the board.
In the top of the fifth, with one Sagehen out and the game tied at 3-3, the Tiger’s infielders worked hard to stop further scoring opportunities. With bases loaded, Pomona-Pitzer’s Boden hit a line drive to third; Mariah Montgomery (junior) expertly fielded the ball to Battest at home, thwarting a Sagehen run. A strong throw from Battest to Morgan Giusti (junior) at first sent the Sagehens back to the coop in a crowd-pleasing double play that kept the Tigers in the game.
A pair of sacrifices and a Tiger error in the top of the seventh brought home a Pomona runner, giving the Sagehens a 4-3 victory.
Despite the scores on the board, the Occidental women are determined to improve and maintain their energy.
“I really try to stay positive,” Montgomery said. “I want to encourage everyone to perform at their full potential—to play at the level I know they are capable of.”
Sunday’s non-conference double-header against Williams proved another test for the Tigers, who were again plagued by a scoreboard that did not indicate the effort put forth by the players.
The Tigers started off tough defensively, keeping the Ephs scoreless until the top of the fifth. Yee played a strong game both behind the plate and on the dirt, scoring the Tigers’ only run on a left field homer and cleaning up the Ephs with powerful fielding. Williams’ parade of runners in the top of the fifth brought in 13 runs to end the game in five innings, 13-1.
Williams, historically a top-25 program, took game two 7-1 in seven innings, though not without a fight. Again, the Tigers put the first run on the board in the bottom of the second with a single from Battest bringing Priley home from second.
“Our priority today was to get better,” Haehnel said. “Our goal was to play up to Williams … I think our youth showed a little bit, but I was proud of [our] fight for every inning.”
Looking forward to the rest of the season, the Tigers are eager to get more SCIAC games under their belts.
“Everyone’s a lot more beatable this year,” Giusti said. “We’ve seen what they can do and we’re going to come back strong.”
The Tigers take on Redlands in a double-header away March 28.
“I know that I’m looking forward to playing these teams again and showing them what we can actually do,” Yee said.
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