Softball goes 2-2 over busy weekend

Trailblazers begin conference play with back-to-back double-headers.

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MCLA had its hands full over the weekend as they played four conference games in the span of two days. The Trailblazers split both double-headers against Framingham State and Salem State and are now 8-10 overall and 2-2 in MASCAC play.

“It was a great opportunity to prepare us for what is down the road,” head coach Jamie Trudeau said. “Playoffs will be very similar to multiple games back to back.  The team finally got to play some games after being halted by rain and it was great to see us coming together.”

On Saturday the Trailblazers traveled to Framingham State. The games were originally scheduled to take place in North Adams, but due to poor weather in the Berkshires, MCLA was forced to travel to Framingham, MA and play as the “home” team there.

In the first game MCLA got off to a quick start in the bottom of the first when freshman Chelsea Coleman singled in fellow freshman Kaitlyn Berghela. Coleman would score later in the inning when senior Angelica Perfido flied out to to right field.

Down 2-0 in the top of the third inning, Framingham State would take advantage of a fielding error and a pair of wild pitches by senior Rachel Quackenbush to score five runs in the inning. The big blow came when Lauren Salisbury tripled to right field, scoring two runs and then advancing to home on a wild pitch by Quackenbush.

The five runs were enough for senior pitcher Natasha Arseneau, who allowed only three hits in the victory. The Trailblazers would gain a run back in the bottom of the fourth when Perfido scored on a throwing error, but were unable to mount anything else in the late innings as Framingham rolled to a 5-3 victory.

The Trailblazers would exact some revenge in the second game, scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the fourth and taking the game 6-2. The inning began when Berghela doubled and Perfido bunted onto first base to put runners on the corner. A wild pitch saw Berghela score and Perfido move to third base. Senior Sierra Bailey would later reach base on a fielder’s choice, driving in Perfido. Later, Julie Watson reached base on an error which scored senior Abby Lucas. Sam Boyle would then single up the middle, driving in two runs. The sixth run would come when Berghela singled to score Watson.

The Trailblazers got a strong pitching performance from junior Katelyn Henault, who allowed only one earned run over seven innings in the Trailblazer victory.

“Katie pitched two great games this weekend.  She is vital to the success of the team and has been a solid performer for us,” Trudeau said. “Being a junior this year and coming in to clutch situations, her development as a pitcher will only strengthen the team.”

MCLA would travel to Salem State on Sunday for another conference double-header. The games were originally scheduled for April 2, but were postponed due to weather. The first game saw the two teams knotted at two for most of the game until MCLA exploded for five runs in the top of the eighth inning to take the game 7-3.

Quackenbush supported herself on the mound in the top of the third inning when she singled to drive in Watson. Salem State would counter in the top of the sixth inning as they finally got to Quackenbush when Desiree Moreno doubled to score a pair of runs and give the Vikings a 2-1 lead.

With their backs against the wall in the seventh and final inning, MCLA senior Jennifer Sicinski came through a key double that scored Coleman and tied the game at two. The game would head to extra innings and saw MCLA chase Salem State pitcher Lleish Burney for five runs in the top of the eighth. A bulk of the damage came on a double by Lucas that came with the bases loaded and scored Perfido, Quackenbush and Berghela. Quackenbush would then hold the Vikings to just one run in the bottom half of the inning to clinch the victory.

The second game was another tight affair, which saw Salem State walk-off with a 4-3 victory. The Trailblazers managed to score first in the fourth inning when Lucas doubled to score Quackenbush. Salem State matched with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning when Jess Raymond singled, bringing Dahlia DeCologero across the plate.

In the top of the sixth inning Boyle would single, driving in Lucas and Perfido to give MCLA a 3-1 lead. Quackenbush would then come in for Henault, who again pitched well allowing one run over 4.1 innings pitched. In the bottom of the sixth Salem State rallied against Quackenbush, scoring twice to tie the game at three.

Burney would come on for the Vikings and kept the Trailblazers in check at the top of the seventh inning. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Jen Crovo singled to put the winning run on first base. DeCologero would then hit a ball into the gap that was enough to bring Crovo all the home from first to give the Vikings the 4-3 victory.

Over the last several games the Trailblazers had been struggling at the plate, but over the weekend they were able to score some runs in conference play. Trudeau talked about the adjustments the team has made to provide more offense for their strong pitching staff and defense.

“We have been hitting all along, but not as a group.  This weekend our offense started stringing the hits together to allow us to capitalize to earn runs,” Trudeau said. “We need to have good at bats, pitch selection, and adjust to different pitchers for the double headers.  We were very successful this weekend working as a team and it was great to see us break out and be the team we expect them to be.”

Yesterday, the Trailblazers played a double-header against Sage College. MCLA lost both games. The Trailblazers resume conference play on Saturday when they host Fitchburg State beginning at noon.