By Staff Writer Tom Griffin.
It’s been a slow week for UMassD’s Corsair softball team, who squeaked out one win and one loss in a doubleheader against Plymouth State’s Panthers Sunday afternoon.
Contributing to the slow week was a doubleheader scheduled against Western Connecticut for Saturday, which was unfortunately postponed until further notice.
This means that, since their last matchup against Worcester State the Sunday prior, the Corsairs’ doubleheader against Little-East Conference rival Plymouth State would be the first game the softball team played in an entire week.
While the Corsairs stood at a confidant 6-2 in-conference record within the Little-East, the Panthers were undefeated against conference rivals at 4-0 for the season. Dethroning the Little-East leader would mean climbing the ranks themselves, clawing their way back into playoff relevance from the .500 record they had started the season with. On a full week’s rest, the Corsairs were looking to make this next series count.
The UMassD squad secured a clean and confidant win in the lid-lifter, despite ending the game at a score of 2-1 and leading by only a single run.
The hero for the day’s event was sophomore pitcher Jill Richards, whose near perfect play on both sides of the plate carried her team to a victory in the first half of the doubleheader. Not only did she pitch a full game and allow only two hits on the day, but she was also the catalyst for both UMassD runs scored on the afternoon, hammering through two RBIs on a single in the third inning.
The Corsair team wasn’t as fortunate in the second half, however, producing zero runs throughout the entirety of the afternoon’s nightcap.
What makes matters worse for this second game is that, between two pitchers, the Panthers were able to shut out UMassD in a complete no-hitter through its seven innings.
With minimal success in scoring on the Corsairs’ behalf, all it took for the panthers to claim a lead was a single, lonely RBI single toward the bottom of the sixth. One run was all it took for the Panthers to snatch victory away from the Corsairs at a simple 1-0 finish.
While the doubleheader ended on a disappointing note, there are several positives to take away from the UMassD softball team’s efforts against Plymouth State. The bullpen’s performance aside, the Corsairs have a lockdown defense that, when at full strength, can hold conference leaders like the Panthers to two points in two games.
This series also proved that the Corsairs can punch above their weight within the Little-East, going toe-to-toe against, and even outplaying teams who had postseason hopes. This team might not be perfect, but if they can upset previously undefeated teams, they don’t exactly need to be.