Softball Rallies to Split Doubleheader with Western New England

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // APRIL 10, 2017 //

Despite entering extra innings for the third time this month, Curry walked off winners of the first game to earn a split with third-ranked Western New England yesterday.

Junior Rebecca Black started in the circle for the Colonels to begin the day, and she went the distance for the second time this season. Across eight innings of work, Black surrendered four runs, but only one was earned. She picked up her third win of the season while lowering her earned run average to 2.60.

The Golden Bears struck early against Black, as they tallied two runs in the second inning. A passed ball by freshman catcher Michaela Colleran allowed the first run to score before WNE manufactured another run via a groundout to shortstop.

In the bottom of the third, Curry answered right back and took the lead with the help of three hits with runners in scoring position.

Juniors Mikayla Lambert and Kevi Oatway started the rally, by mashing almost identical singles up the middle, to score senior captains Marissa Bruno and Mikayla Korona on back-to-back plays. It was then the junior first baseman, Rachel Byrd, gave the Colonels the lead with an RBI double to right field.

The Golden Bears tied the game at three in the top of the sixth, but that was the end of the scoring for the next two innings, sending Curry to extras for the second time in as many days.

Momentum began to swing Western New England’s way in the eighth after Gabby Lavinio lifted a sac fly to center to put the pressure on the home team.

Junior Morgan Bogardus made the last out in the seventh and was placed on second base to begin the eighth inning when freshman Hanna Fleming placed a bunt down the first baseline to put runners on the corners.

Bruno then sent a hard ground ball to shortstop, but Bogardus was cut down at home for the first out of the inning.

Korona stepped up to the plate next, and nearly ended the game with one swing. With the wind blowing out, Korona smoked a ball off the top of the right field wall, barely missing a home run. Fleming scampered home to equalize the game while Bruno strode into third and Korona took second standing up.

Junior second baseman Mikayla Lambert drew a walk to load the bases before classmate Kevi Oatway singled to center and brought the Colonels out of the dugout to mob the heroine.

Once the celebration slowed down, Oatway provided some insight into her thought process before heading up to bat.

“When they walked Mikayla, it was kinda like [them saying] ‘she’s better than the girl after her.’ So, I wanted to get up there and prove myself,” Oatway noted. “I was going in, knowing I was gonna get a hit.”

The victory itself marked Curry’s fourth walk-off win of the season and entering the second game, the Colonels were buzzing with energy.

Unfortunately, Curry’s biggest weakness of the 2017 season decided to reappear again.

Lambert started her tenth game of the season in the second part of the day’s doubleheader and she cruised through the first five innings before giving up two hits to start the sixth.

Senior McKenna Barlow entered the scoreless game and promptly struck out the first batter she faced. However, after inducing a ground ball, Bruno misfired from third base and one run came across unearned. Another groundout saw another Golden Bear score before one more ground ball got the Colonels back to the dugout.

Curry fell silent offensively though, as the second game came to an end. Only four hits were registered for the home team, all of them providing singles.

WNE’s pitcher Samantha DiGiovanni dominated, picking up the complete-game shutout. She kept the Colonels off balance while consistently changed speeds.

Picking up a win and loss against the Golden Bears gives Curry a 10-12 overall record. In the Commonwealth Coast Conference, the Colonels now sit at 5-5, marking an improvement upon last year’s Conference win total.

After the game Head Coach Bruce Weckworth put the game in perspective for the girls in their last year.

“These seniors have never beaten Western New England. Even a split now, is such a signature win in the conference,” Weckworth remarked. “A win like this, over one of the best teams in the conference, validates who we are.”

Korona harped upon the same points as her coach.

“We’re making some noise in the conference. Other teams will see we split with the best team,” Korona added. “It’s a good feeling to come off of a win; it was a crappy feeling to come off of two losses yesterday.”

Curry was rewarded with a day off on Monday and will return to action the 11th as they travel to Suffolk University for a non-conference doubleheader starting at 4 p.m.

Softball Drops Doubleheader Against Roger Williams

BY TYLER MILLIKEN and STEVEN SOUSA // APRIL 9, 2017 //

Inconsistency at the plate not only left Curry trailing most of the day but it also left plenty of runners on base as the Colonels fell in both games of a conference doubleheader to Roger Williams.

Junior Mikayla Lambert got the nod to start the day for the Colonels, and the results were not exactly ideal. She did go the distance and registered her eighth complete game to rank second in the Commonwealth Coast Conference nor did she allow an earned run.

Her teammates provided her support right out of the gates and pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Kevi Oatway drew a walk with the bases loaded to break the tie before classmate Rachel Byrd lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Despite falling behind early, the Hawks were able to respond right away in the second inning and took advantage of some defensive miscues. Colonel shortstop Jessica Saluti committed a throwing error and allowed two runs to score unearned to tie the game.

Curry went silent until the seventh inning, as the team attempted to earn their fourth walk-off win of the season with the game tied entering the final regulation inning. The Colonels strung two hits and a walk together to load the bases and Lambert came up to help her own cause.

However, she was not able to get it done and instead grounded out to send the game to extras innings, but maybe not for long.

Failing to come through in the seventh ended up being the demise for Curry. Another error plagued the Colonels and right fielder Molly Horn opened the gates for four runs to eventually come in, again unearned to Lambert.

Juliet Hulme secured the victory in the bottom of the eighth for the Hawks, by stalling Curry’s comeback attempt at one run.

At the end of the doubleheader, head coach Bruce Weckworth stated after the games that it probably could have ended before the fans saw free softball.

“Today, that first game, we had it. It shouldn’t have even come down to the late innings,” Weckworth noted. “It’s all about finishing, and putting people in the right spot late in games.”

The Colonels fell to Roger Williams by a 6-3 margin, before entering the second matchup of the day. With their work cut out for them, junior Jordan Lizotte took the circle for Curry in game two but she quickly found herself in trouble.

The Hawks wasted no time stringing together hits for themselves and Julianna Vesce and Mikaela Grosso provided the RBI’s putting the Colonels in an early 2-0 hole.

“I don’t think they reacted as well as they could have,” coach Weckworth noted after the game. “Some games we get down early and we answer right back…today they punched and we didn’t punch back.”

Roger Williams tacked on another run in the top of the third when Vesce drove in her second RBI of the game to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead.

It all seemed to be paying off for Roger Williams as they clearly had more energy from the first pitch on and were never quiet on the diamond. The lone exception for their opposition was Colonel centerfield and co-captain Mikayla Korona.

“I feel as though we could have had more energy, and that fire in our bellies to really succeed in the second game,” remarked Korona.

After conceding two more runs in the fourth inning, Curry responded with two of their own in the bottom of the fifth when Lambert lifted a sacrifice fly and Oatway ripped an RBI single.

McKenna Barlow came in and pitched two innings of relief for the Colonels but the Hawk bats continued to be too much. She gave up four runs in the top of the sixth inning although only two were earned.

In the bottom of the seventh, it appeared that the Colonels were starting to put something together and had the bases loaded. However, Saluti got jammed and popped out to end the game, continuing the theme of leaving runners on base.

Curry now finds itself 4-4 in conference play, while the Hawks improve to 7-1 in that category. The Colonels get right back up on that horse and host Western New England for another conference doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. this Sunday afternoon.

  • It was a brisk day down at the D. Forbes Will Athletic Complex. According to the National Weather Service, it was 47 degrees at first pitch but felt like 32 degrees because of the 20 MPH winds.
  • According to Weckworth, Curry was missing two juniors for today’s games: Morgan Bogardus who was hit in the chin by a ball in pregame warmups and is now in the concussion protocol, and Carolyn Lynch who is currently serving her guard week as she is a United States Marine.
  • This afternoon’s doubleheader marks their fifth and sixth games in three days.

Softball Splits Doubleheader with Conference foe Nichols College

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // March 31, 2017 //

The Curry bats failed to come alive in the first home game of the 2017 season at the D. Forbes Will Field but battled back and walked-off winners to earn a split with Nichols College.

Although the Colonels already had a couple Commonwealth Coast Conference games under their belt, the Bison were playing in their first conference action, already needing to make up ground.

Junior Mikayla Lambert was given the ball to start the game and came through, delivering a complete game while allowing only three runs. However, those unearned runs would prove to be costly.

Even to start the fourth she had a no-hitter, but the bases were loaded due to walks and errors. After another error allowed the first run to score, the floodgates opened, but only for a short while as Lambert hung in and got Curry out of the inning.

The errors and free passes gave Nichols the scoring chances they couldn’t create and the Colonels just couldn’t match the production. That might have partially been because of the other pitcher in the circle; freshman Alexis Ferris.

The 3-0 victory marked the Bison’s first Conference win of the season in the first game of the doubleheader, and Ferris’ fifth win on the season. Curry totaled four hits through seven innings, while Nichols only accumulated two.

In the second game of the evening, junior Jordan Lizotte got the starting nod for the Colonels, and immediately found a rhythm. She cruised through the first five frames scattering six hits while striking out four Bison.

On top of that, she helped herself out at the plate and drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth. Junior Jess Saluti followed with an RBI single and Lizotte returned to the circle with a 2-0 cushion.

However, the opposing pitcher, senior Meghan Sears, had similar plans and helped her own cause by lifting a two-run home run to even the score in the top of the sixth.

After the game, Lizotte mentioned, “At that point, you have to realize a hit like that is going to happen, and if you get down, a lot worse can happen. I just had to hold my head up high and go at the next batter.”

She was able to do just that and sent the 2-2 score past regulation and gave the fans free softball, although it wouldn’t last long.

Madeline Critch was placed on second base to begin the bottom of the eighth inning, and Rachel Byrd stepped to the plate. Byrd laced a ground ball to center field, which got away from the outfielder and allowed Critch to go home. Although a strong relay cut her down before the plate, Byrd advanced to third on the error.

Just a few pitches into the next at-bat, Sears fired a pitch into the dirt, and Byrd raced home for the win.

The Colonels move to 3-1 in conference play this season, which is a huge improvement on the four conference wins that came from 2016.

While reflecting on the win, senior captain Marissa Bruno noted some struggles the team has been going through off the field.

“Our assistant coach is having some issues, so, before the last inning we got in the huddle and said let’s just do it for Katy, so we had her on our mind and in our hearts,” Bruno explained.

Head Coach Bruce Weckworth was all smiles after the win, proud of his team’s performance.

“There was a nice energy coming out. Jordan did a great job keeping the ball down and away,” Weckworth noted. “This is our time.”

The D. Forbes Will Field goes right back to action as its set to host another CCC doubleheader on Sunday, this time with the first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. with Gordon College.

Softball Looks to Revitalize Postseason Success

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // March 8, 2017 //

For the first time in 20 years, the softball team failed to make the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament and the only thing on their mind this year is redemption.

Since suffering their final sweep of the season at the hands of Suffolk University last May 4, Head Coach Bruce Weckworth has added six freshmen and named another captain in senior center fielder Mikayla Korona.

The Bellingham native joins classmate Marissa Bruno who held the title along with Amy Nolan last year before Nolan graduated. As the team has changed personnel and leadership roles, the dynamic of the squad is a little different compared to years past; “I think that there’s more energy to the team this year, positive energy,” Korona explained.

While a majority of the team is returning players, Korona and Bruno have played a major part in helping freshman adapt to this new level of competition. Neither captain is willing to take things slowly, with this being the last time they can represent Curry on the diamond.

Their first crack at that last shot comes this Sunday down in sunny Fort Myers, Florida, starting the day early with a 9 a.m. first pitch with SUNY Brockport. That first pitch is just the start of a grueling 40-game season spanning just six weeks of the calendar.

Over that month and a half, a lot of things can happen and Coach Weckworth knows that to be true entering his 22nd year at the helm and owning the program’s all-time Win record. But more than anything, with 40 games in 42 days, strengths and weaknesses of teams are exposed over that breakneck sprint.

In his eyes, one big struggle that plagued the Colonels last season was the inconsistency in the pitcher’s circle. Starters were failing to set the tone early in games, or the bullpen squandered leads in later innings.

With new pitching coach Kathy Berardi assuming the role close to the beginning of the season she did not have much time to acquaint herself with the pitching and catching staffs. Now with an entire offseason to advise her personnel groups, things have shifted in the circle.

Berardi has implemented her own throwing program while developing relationships with the four catchers under her watch. Coach Weckworth has been quite impressed with the development of the girls behind the dish this offseason.

“I also think who you throw to matters. I’m really comfortable. It doesn’t make the pitching better, but it can make the pitching better,” he noted.

Of course, the pitchers can throw their best stuff but if the seven fielders behind her can’t make plays, that’s a big problem.

Defense is a significant component to coach Weckworth’s philosophy in building a successful pitching staff and a well-rounded team. While the team may have some questions in certain departments, their ability to make the routine plays has been a key focus each day in practice.

However, the corner outfield spots have been sort of a revolving door in those practices, with nobody quite stepping up and making Weckworth call one a starter. “We’re looking for a right fielder and a left fielder to come in and play hard, hit [well, and] hit cutoffs when they’re making throws,” Weckworth said. “Defense wins championships.”

Since the first practice of the offseason, coach Weckworth has been preaching one message to his team: “It’s about getting back to the playoffs. [But] it’s not just about getting back, it’s about making some noise and causing some damage,” he vocalized.

According to Captain Korona, the team has run with this message and is using it as motivation to help get the softball team get back to their winning ways.

For the second year in a row, the Colonels have a doubleheader scheduled every time they take the diamond and will play six days in the Sunshine State to kick their season off. Their home opener is the Tuesday after they get back, March 21, as they host Wheelock College for a non-conference matchup.