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  • Writer's pictureLJ VP LAFIURA

Softball sweeps doubleheader in home opener

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Junior Katie Hopkins makes contact with the ball in the second game of softball’s doubleheader against Worcester State. Photo by Joe Giacco

For the first time on Taylor Field this season, softball won their doubleheader against Worcester State. Junior Eryn Sheeley and first-year Abigail Fortin each pitched complete games in 6-2 and 5-4 victories respectively.

“We got really good energy and positive attitudes into our home opener, and I think it reflected in our performance,” acting head coach Hannah DelCervo said.

Sheeley took off running in the first game, shutting out the Lancers through five innings and keeping a no-hitter into the fourth inning. After getting out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings, Sheeley found trouble in the sixth. Two hits by Emma Lanpher and Emma Lapoint, Rachel Sinclair brought home one run before an Abigail Koziol double sent in the other.

Sheeley got the remaining two outs and finished the seventh inning without further damage. She finished her seven innings of work with five hits, two earned runs, and 11 strikeouts.

“We know the team's going to support her no matter what,” DelCervo said. “Everyone had each other’s backs today.”

The Lasers gave Sheeley the insurance she needed during the first and second innings. In the first, Mackenzie Still hit a two-out double before junior Katie Hopkins’ left-field single drove her home as the opening run. Seniors Matara Tamzarian and Angelena Piers help drive in three more runs, chasing the Worcester State starter, Sarah Gosselin in the opening frame.

Gosselin’s replacement, Emily Bartlett got out of the inning but in the second allowed two more runs on a Still double and Hopkins sacrifice fly which put the game well out of reach.

First-year Fortin came on as a pinch hitter late in game one, but starred in her first career home start, game two. Fortin held the game scoreless until the fourth inning when Koziol scored from third base on an error by Piers at first base.

First-year Abigail Fortin prepares to deliver a pitch in game two of the Worcester State doubleheader. Photo by Joe Giacco

The momentum continued to swing toward the Lancers in the fifth where Koziol drove in two with a single to center field, and in the sixth where they added one more on a groundout by opposing pitcher Jen Thorburn. Fortin held things in the seventh to seal the doubleheader sweep. She finished with the win, seven innings pitched, and four earned runs on eight hits and just one walk. Fortin also put on a show cleaning up the weak contact she created, accounting for five assists in the field.

“I had to give it my all no matter what, because of how close the game was,” Fortin said. “I just knew that if I just narrow my focus down to me and the catcher Grace (Stephenson), and I just pitch how I can, everything will be good.”

The Lasers got their offense in the early innings. During frame one, Hopkins got to another ball, driving it to provide another run. In the third inning, they added four more runs with RBIs by graduate student Brianna Gendreau, Fortin, first-year Alyssa Bland, and then junior Ally Kirck. They nursed those five runs to the win.

The sweep of Worcester State advances the Lasers to 7-5 on the young season. The grind of their season continues today with another home doubleheader against UMaine-Farmington.

“It's what the girls expect. I think it's what we practiced in Florida, 10 games in five days,” DelCervo said. “It's a ton of work for them, but I think they know they've all been working on their recovery systems, mentally and physically, and I think they're ready to go tomorrow.”

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