After starting the season 12-2, the John Carroll softball team has hit a little bump in the road, dropping three of its last four contests in doubleheaders against Ohio Wesleyan on March 22 and Ohio Northern on March 25 in its Ohio Athletic Conference opener.
The Blue Streaks (13-5, 0-2 OAC) split their March 22 doubleheader with the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan by winning game one, 2-0, and falling in the nightcap, 7-5.
In game one, senior Brittany Danilov improved her record to 8-2 by pitching a complete game shutout, fanning eight Ohio Wesleyan batters while only allowing five hits. The Blue Streaks did all their scoring in the second inning thanks to an RBI single by sophomore outfielder Colleen Brady, which scored senior first baseman Ollie Mathews and sophomore outfielder Heather Hurley.
In the nightcap, Brady came up big once again with a two-out two-run home run to centerfield capping off a three-run fourth inning for the Blue Streaks, in addition to giving Brady her first career home run. The Battling Bishops however rallied in the bottom of the fifth with six runs, making it a 6-3 Ohio Wesleyan lead. Down three in the sixth, the Blue Streaks did not relent as a two-out RBI base hit by sophomore Lia Locey scored Mathews and Hurley, cutting the Battling Bishops’ advantage to one. Ohio Wesleyan added one insurance run in the sixth though, paving the way for Battling Bishops freshman pitcher Tamra Londot to pick up her first save of the season in the 7-5 victory over the Blue Streaks.
Then, just three days later, the Polar Bears came to town.
In a doubleheader series that was originally scheduled for Saturday, March 24, the Polar Bears and the Blue Streaks met the day after on March 25 in a rematch of an OAC Tournament elimination game last season in which the Polar Bears spoiled the Blue Streaks’ OAC regular season championship by knocking them out of the OAC Tournament with a 5-3 victory last May.
Apparently, the Polar Bears were still hungry come Sunday as they took two from the Blue and Gold by scores of 12-2 in game one, and 7-3 in game two.
After retiring the first two hitters in the top half of the first in game one, the Polar Bears scored five runs off Danilov, and then added two in the next two innings and three in the seventh on their way to the 12-2 victory. Offensively, the only glimmer of sunshine for the Blue Streaks was sophomore shortstop Sam Becker’s three hits and two runs scored. The Blue and Gold only had four hits the entire ballgame.
Unfortunately, in game two, it was much more of the same for the Blue Streaks as the relentless Polar Bears’ offense did not let off the gas, scoring six runs off sophomore pitcher Trisha Pike in the first three innings and later adding one run of insurance in the seventh on their way to the 7-3 victory.
Leading the way offensively for the Blue Streaks were senior third baseman Erin Riccardi, Mathews and Becker who each had two hits in the ballgame.
“Our hitting just didn’t come around [today],” said Becker, who led the way with five hits in two games against Ohio Northern. “We just need to make adjustments and we need to do it as soon as possible.”
Head coach Erin Brooks had similar sentiments, and while she realizes her team’s recent struggles, there’s still plenty of season left.
“Northern always hits us pretty hard as they are a great hitting team,” said coach Brooks. “They were extremely aggressive at the plate and took advantage of missed pitches really well.”
The Blue Streaks returned to the diamond for a home doubleheader against Denison University this past Tuesday (3-1 loss, 7-5 loss), and will be back in action Saturday March 31, when they travel to Bexley, Ohio to take on the Capital University Crusaders.