Blue Outlasts Kalamazoo in Eight Innings, Falls Short Against North Central (Ill.)

Alex Berman Photography
Alex Berman Photography

CLERMONT, Fla. -- Wellesley College softball scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning to defeat Kalamazoo College, 9-4, on Monday evening at the National Training Center Spring Games. In the nightcap, North Central College (Ill.) erased an early 4-0 Wellesley lead to take a 10-7 victory. Wellesley is now 3-3 on the season, while Kalamazoo drops to 2-4 and North Central improves to 8-0. 

Wellesley 9, Kalamazoo 4 (8 innings)

Cloudy skies and rainy conditions forced lengthy delays on Monday at the National Training Center as the Blue and the Hornets got underway an hour and a half after a rescheduled 4:00 PM start time. 

The Hornets struck first in the contest, scoring a run in the bottom half of the second inning when Maddy Sinkovich scored on an RBI single by Paige Maguire. The Blue limited the damage to just one run in the inning thanks in part to Anna Pisac's throw to home on the same play, as the leftfielder's strike cut down the trailing runner at the plate. 

Wellesley took advantage of a pair of Kalamazoo errors in the fourth inning to push across four runs. First year Ines Borromeo delivered the big base hit in the inning. With the Blue leading 2-0, Borromeo drove home a pair of runs with a single to right field. Pisac also picked up an RBI after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Senior Emilyrose Havrilla drove in the other Blue run, scoring Jaclyn Tsang with a single.

Kalamazoo chipped away at the three run defect in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, rallying to tie the contest, at 4-4, when Isabella Kirck scored on a fielders choice with a pair of runners on base. For the Hornets, Maguire drove home her second RBI of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The game advanced to extra innings with the scored tied 4-4. With Maria LaBouyer placed on second place to start the inning, the Blue immediately took advantage of the international tiebreaker, as LaBouyer scored on an error by the Kalamazoo catcher. However, the Blue wouldn't stop at one run, as both Mariah Philips and Tsang tacked on two-RBI base hits to give Wellesley the five run advantage. 

Madeline Bianchi then shut down the Hornets in the bottom half of the inning, striking out two batters and inducing a fly ball to right to retire the side in order. Bianchi earned the victory, pitching the final 3.2 innings after coming on in relief of starter Julia Warner.


North Central (Ill.) 10, Wellesley 7

In game two, played under the lights, the Blue got out to a 4-0 lead thanks to a four-run bottom of the second inning. Havrilla opened the inning with a single to left field before immediately coming around to score on a double to right center by Kendra Coleman. Coleman then moved to third on a bunt single by Philips, later coming around to score on error by the third baseman following a botched rundown.  

Philips then added the third run, beating out a throw to the plate following a bunt by Amanda Manning. The Blue would add the fourth run on another North Central (Ill.) miscue when Abby Casey scored after Tsang reached on an error.

Despite a rocky inning in the field, the Cardinals responded with their bats following a scoreless third. North Central rallied to take the lead in the fourth inning, scoring five runs on four hits and an error. Jenna Trojniar drove in a pair of runs with a single through the right side after the Cardinals loaded the bases with one away. North Central then pushed across three more runs on a bunt single, an error and a fielders choice to take their first lead of the game. 

The Cardinals added four more runs in the top of the sixth inning and one more in the top of the seventh to take a commanding 10-4 advantage into the home half of the seventh. 

With Wellesley facing its largest deficit of the night, Manning opened the inning with a lead off single before advancing to second on error that also allowed LaBoyer to reach base. Pisac then singled down the line, ripping a ball off the glove of the Cardinals' Kayla Antle at third base. However, Antle's effort slowed the ball just enough that shortstop Corrine Rowe was able to recover the ball and throw to third to cut down Manning. 

A walk to Havrilla loaded the bases for Kendra Coleman who then ripped a double down the first base line to clear the bases and cut the Cardinals lead to 10-7. However, North Central escaped the inning when Philips was retired thanks to a spectacular running catch in foul territory by left fielder Amanda Walker. 

Wellesley will close out its Florida Spring schedule on Wednesday with a pair of games. The Blue will take on Chicago at 9:00 AM before a game with Carthage at 1:00 PM in the afternoon.