Softball Team Bashes and Bumbles into Conference Play

BY JACOB FORCE // MARCH 27, 2019 //

After returning from a weeklong tournament in Fort Myers, Fla., where they went 5-5, the Curry softball team has won three out of four games in preparation for the start of conference action.

But before the Colonels can begin Commonwealth Coast Conference play this Saturday, March 30, with a double-header at the University of New England, one more non-conference double-header looms. The Colonels will host the Suffolk University Rams this Thursday (March 28) starting at 3 p.m. Suffolk is 6-8 on the season, following two lopsided losses to Brandeis University this past Tuesday.

Freshman outfielder Liana Duarte is among several Colonels crushing the ball at the plate thus far this season. The team has an astounding batting average of .320, led by sophomore second baseman Taylor Newcomb (.409 and 13 RBI), junior catcher Michaela Colleran (.396 and 15 RBI), sophomore catcher Jordan Perzan (.354 and 17 RBI), sophomore infielders Kiana Lloyd and Jocelyn Diamond (.359 & .313, respectively), and junior infielder Caroline Johnson (.308). Duarte’s college career is only 13 games old, yet she’s raking at a .375 clip and has gotten on base in half of her plate appearances.

It’s also worth noting that those are just the players who have 20 or more at-bats this season. Junior third baseman Molly Horn is hitting .421 on 19 at-bats.

While offense has been a relative breeze thus far, the story has been much different in the field. Curry leads the Commonwealth Coast Conference in errors with a whopping 51 in 14 games. In contrast, conference rival Gordon College (also 8-6 overall) has only 19 errors.

“Our outfield, on a scale of 1-10, has played at about a six,” said coach Bruce Weckworth. “I think we can do better.”

Lloyd and Newcomb currently lead the conference in errors with 12 and 10, respectively. When asked about the two, Weckworth noted, “How do you keep them off the field? But how do you keep them on the field,” given their hitting abilities?

Pitching is another area of challenge for this year’s Colonels squad. Curry’s pitchers have a conference-low average of only 3.38 strikeouts per seven innings, but Weckworth said he remains confident in his staff, especially Mount Ida transfer Carrigan Costello, a sophomore, who has thrown a team-leading 42.2 innings thus far for a 3-3 record.

“We don’t have a pure strikeout pitcher,” said Weckworth. “What this does is it puts more pressure on the field.”

Ultimately, though, Weckworth believes his squad can turn things around. “I like our chances!” he said.

The Colonels will be a bit short-handed facing off against Suffolk this Thursday, as four sophomores are scheduled to miss the double-header. All four are Nursing majors who have academic commitments that will keep them from the field. Weckworth said that’s always a challenge for Curry women’s sports teams, as Nursing is the largest major at Curry, by enrollment, and it’s also typically the most time-intensive.

With an already young team—Curry features just three juniors and one senior—that just means more of the freshmen will get the chance to step up.

 

 

 

Softball Honors Seniors in Regular-Season Finale

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // APRIL 25, 2017 //

After being rained out over the weekend, the Colonels finally got the opportunity to honor their three seniors against the Salve Regina Seahawks at the D. Forbes Will Field.

It was the last chance for the three graduating members of the Curry Community to play the game of softball with a chance at a playoff berth on the line.

The three Colonel seniors from three different states. Marissa Bruno (left) of Milford, Conn., Mikayla Korona (center) from Bellingham, Mass., and McKenna Barlow (right) from Middletown, R.I. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY COLLEGE ATHLETICS

It was of course a senior who got the starting nod for the Colonels and McKenna Barlow, of Middletown, R.I., took the circle for her fifth start of the season. However, the results were not exactly what she had hoped for.

The Seahawks’ ability to consistently make contact tormented Barlow, as she only picked up a single strikeout during the afternoon.

Curry’s offense failed to make any noise in the first game, as Salve Regina’s Kelsey Boarman dazzled in a complete-game shutout. Boarman allowed only one hit, while striking out and walking a single batter each.

The Seahawks pushed runs across in four different innings, with the help of some solid base running and steadily putting the ball in play. The Colonels seemed to be chasing hits all day, while Barlow battled to work through each inning. She did finish the entire game but not before surrendering six runs (four earned) on 13 hits.

The 6-0 final dropped Curry to 15-20 overall and 7-10 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. That was a good enough mark to be hanging around sixth place, the final spot in the playoffs.

Once game two rolled around, junior Rebecca Black entered the circle for the Colonels, with the hope of ending the team’s four-game losing streak.

Despite a tough start to begin the day, Curry started the second game with some punch at the plate. In her final game on Forbes Field, Marissa Bruno added to her legacy by launching a solo home run to center field to start the bottom of the first. The captain rounded the bases only to be mobbed by her teammates at home.

However, the Seahawks formulated a response right away and pushed three runs across to steal the lead the Colonels just got. Salve added two more in the fourth and Curry could only get one more run across before seven innings were played.

Black got tagged with the loss in her 11th start to drop her record to 5-6 while giving up five earned runs on nine hits in her seventh complete game.

The Seahawks handed the Colonels a sweep to end their season on a five-game losing streak to cement their regular season record at 15-21 overall and 7-11 in the CCC.

At the end of the day Curry found itself in a tie with Gordon College for the sixth and final playoff spot in the CCC Tournament. The Fighting Scots traveled to Nichols College yesterday and earned a split to finish their season at 14-20 overall and an identical 7-11 in the CCC.

The one extra non-conference victory for the Purple and White nudged their overall winning percentage to .417, ahead of Gordon’s .412 to sit at the #6 seed.

However, that was still to be determined by the time the final out was recorded and there was a lingering cloud of emotion after the game.

“I’m trying not to cry right now,” Barlow explained, thinking about the end of her Curry career. “It’s tough, I had to put up a fight to get back on the team and everything…it’s crazy to think I was a freshman just four years ago.”

Despite the season ending on such a tough note, co-captain Mikayla Korona was optimistic about what the future holds after softball.

“In everybody’s life your athletics end, and my post-career will start soon,” the Bellingham-native remarked. “I’ve had a good career all in all from when I was little, to now. In my eyes I thought we fought till the end, but one team has to win at the end of the day, and it wasn’t us.”

At the end of the day’s celebrations, Head Coach Bruce Weckworth helped breakdown just what his seniors meant to him over the years.

“It’s devastating for us,” Weckworth put simply. “They’ve grown as young women from where they were as freshman to where they are today. This group…I wish I could coach them forever.”

The final games of the Commonwealth Coast Conference schedule consist of Wentworth traveling to Nichols which was scheduled for today, but rain has postponed it.

The CCC Tournament is scheduled to begin on April 28, and the Colonels will be waiting patiently for the final seedings.

 

 

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.