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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Softball goes 1-2 over weekend to end UAA tournament

Published: March 23, 2012
Section: Sports

After losing a close game 8-7 to Rochester last Friday, the Judges’ softball squad split a doubleheader on Saturday, with an 11-3 win against Case Western, and another close loss, 5-4, to Washington University at St. Louis. The team returned from the UAA tournament in Altamonte Springs, Fla., finishing the tournament with a 3-5 record.

Ali Theodore ’12 is hopeful the Judges will have a successful season after a productive off-season.

“In the off season the team worked a lot on fielding fundamentals, strength and conditioning, and batting,” Theodore said. She added that the team’s goal was to “correct the small things that many times go unnoticed during big games, yet can be crucial to [their] success. I think the team has really done a great job cultivating everything we have been working on in the off-season, which definitely showed in Florida.”

Theodore also pointed out the challenges of having the UAA tournament in March. “It’s difficult for us because, unlike other UAA teams, we have yet to really play outside, whereas teams like Emory are already midway through their season. All the teams we faced were strong, talented teams.”

Theodore also mentioned the benefit of having the tournament, noting: “These are always the toughest games of the season, so having to be thrown into it immediately definitely gives us a good indication of our strengths and weaknesses for coming back to New England for the remainder of the games.”

In the match-up against Rochester, the Judges fell behind 7-1 after four innings but were able to rally and tie the game up with a six-run sixth inning. The Judges benefited from a pair of two-run singles by second baseman Leah McWilliams ’14 and pitcher Caroline Miller ’12. A wild pitch with two outs in the ninth, however, brought in the game-winning run for the Yellowjackets, ending the Judges’ hopes for a miraculous win.

For the game, right fielder Amanda Genovese ’15, first baseman Marianne Specker ’12 and center fielder Lauren Porcaro ’12 led the Judges with two hits apiece, while Miller and third baseman Anya Kamber ’15 each added a pair of RBIs.

The Judges looked to bounce back on Saturday, when they faced Case Western Reserve. The game was close through the first five innings, with the Judges leading 4-3. Brandeis put the game away in the sixth inning, scoring seven runs on their way to an 11-3 victory. Melissa Nolan ’14 pitched well for the Judges, allowing just two earned runs on four hits while pitching a complete game.

Unfortunately, the Judges were not able to stay hot for their next game later on Saturday, facing Wash U, who ranked 21st in the nation. Brandeis scored first, plating two runs in the third inning, but the Bears responded with a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth inning, taking a 4-2 lead into the last inning.

After Genovese got on base with a one-out single in the top of the seventh, shortstop Brittany Grimm ’12 hit a game-tying two-run homer, evening the score at four apiece. In the bottom half of the seventh inning, however, the Bears got three straight two-out singles to walk off with the 5-4 win. Although she took the loss, Miller pitched well for the Judges, striking out seven batters in six and two-thirds innings.

Theodore touched on some of the improvements the Judges made throughout the tournament.

“We had a little trouble getting things started with the bats early on, but over time I think players became more confident as they realized just putting the ball in play and causing havoc could lead to game-changing situations,” she said. “I think our pitching, fielding and hitting improved every game. Once we got all the nerves out and realized we have the potential to challenge every team we faced, things started to flow nicely.”

Theodore also noted the importance of smart base-running. “I think it is also important that we stay aggressive on the base paths and take advantage of the opportunities to advance bases.”

Theodore said the team’s main goal for the season is to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

The Judges will face Worcester Polytechnic Institute in a double-header Friday at 3 p.m. and then at 5 p.m.