Softball begins season with pair of losses during Florida Spring Break trip

Softball begins season with pair of losses during Florida Spring Break trip

CLERMONT, Fla. - The Saint Michael's College softball team opened its season with a pair of losses on Sunday during The Spring Games, falling against Drury (Mo.) University, 7-0, and to 2016 NCAA Tournament qualifier West Chester University of Pennsylvania, 9-1 in six innings, at Legends Way. The Purple Knights were beginning their annual Spring Break trip to Florida, during which they will play 10 times in six days.

Senior Christina Brazeau (Warwick, R.I./Saint Mary Academy-Bay View) and junior Chandler Wilder (Beverly, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) both had hits in the opener, and classmate Danielle Brown (Vergennes, Vt./Vergennes Union) walked once at the plate while striking out 10 batters over six innings in the circle, allowing all seven runs. Sophomore Molly Feeney (Valhalla, N.Y./John F. Kennedy Catholic) spun a shutout seventh.

Senior Taylor Ellestad was 3-for-3 with a walk, a run, an RBI, two doubles and a triple for 10-10 Drury, and classmate Kari Hillenburg finished 3-for-5 with three runs and an RBI. First-year Samantha Dockweiler went 3-for-4 with a run and a triple, and junior Destiny Bolen spun the two-hit shutout, striking out six.

Ellestad tripled home Hillenburg with two down in the top of the first inning for the visiting Panthers, and first-year Dominique Salinas' two-out, two-run, bad-hop single made it 4-0 in the second one batter after Hillenburg singled home a run. Two more run-scoring hits followed in the third, including one with two out. Brazeau led off the fourth with a single before being stranded at second base, and junior Kaelie Smith's RBI double extended the Drury advantage in the sixth frame. Brown led off the home half with a walk before Wilder singled with two down, but both were left on.

In the nightcap, Brazeau had no official at bats, walking twice and putting down a sacrifice bunt during her three plate appearances while scoring the Purple Knights' run. Junior Kaleigh Fallon (Mashpee, Mass./Sturgis Charter Public School) was 1-for-2, senior Danielle Barbato (Hillsdale, N.Y./Taconic Hills) had an RBI single, and Wilder dropped two sacrifices. In her college debut, first-year Torie Rathwell (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) allowed all nine runs, eight of which were earned, in 5.2 innings.

Senior Sarah Walasavage finished 3-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs, a stolen base and a triple for 9-4 West Chester, and five others had two hits. Among them was first-year Bri Garber, who was 2-for-4 with two runs, an RBI and two steals. Classmate Emily Maseth was 2-for-3 with an RBI while allowing one run on two hits in a six-inning victory.

Brazeau led off the game with a walk before later coming around on Barbato's two-out, opposite-field single to right field, but the Golden Rams tied the score in the home half. Walasavage tripled with one down and scored on junior Sara Ercolani's bunt single, and West Chester scored three runs on four hits in the second frame, with Maseth picking up the game-winning RBI.

In a 4-1 game, Fallon singled to begin the third and later reached third base with two down but was stranded. Rathwell worked around five hits to hold the Golden Rams scoreless between the third and fifth innings before they scored five times on six runs in the sixth thanks to five run-scoring hits. Senior Hayley Bollinger's two-out double plated Ercolani with the game-clinching run.

The Purple Knights play under the lights twice tomorrow, opposing Concordia University-Saint Paul (Minn.) at 6 p.m. and Augustana (S.D.) University at 8:30 p.m.