The College of Wooster softball team traveled to Muskingum University this past weekend for their second set of games against the Fighting Muskies this year. After dropping their previous two games against the Muskies, the Scots hoped to get one back but came up short in New Concord, Ohio on Sunday, May 1. The Scots were defeated in the first game 5-0 after a competitive seven innings and lost their second game 17-2 after five innings.
After a scoreless first two innings in the first game, the Muskies registered two runs in the third inning, two in the fourth inning and one in the fifth, putting them up 5-0 over the Scots.
This score would not change for the rest of the game. Despite a lack of runs in the first game, Wooster put up a strong fight, with hits contributed by Brooke Swaine ’22, Stephanie Griffin-Sanchez ’24, Kaydee Clark ’24 and Sarah Lodge ’25. Pitching by Addie Tagg ’23 and Rachael Dudziak ’24 also was a key component in the Scots’ first game.
Lodge applauded the Scots persistence throughout the game. “The morale stayed up in the dugout the whole time and I think it’s a lot easier for us to push through when we stay up,” she said. Going into the second game, Lodge said the Scots were working to replicate the successful bounceback that they had in their most recent outing against Ohio Northern University, in which they won 4-2 in their second game after losing the first 6-1. While they came up short, Daphne Pate ’22 said that the team never lost its fight. “No matter what happened in those games, even if we were down, we were still having fun, we were still giving it our all, nobody went up to the plate [looking] defeated the whole time,” she said.
The Scots dropped their second game 17-2, mostly caused by Muskingum’s strong first, second and fourth innings during which they strung together multiple runs to put them above Wooster. The Scots connected for eight hits, leading up to a high moment for the team when Anna Norby ’22 hit her second home run of the season in the fourth inning, sending both her and Clark in for two runs.
Pate said that, as opposed to focusing solely on what is on the scoreboard, the Scots focused on the quality of their play each time they were out on the field. They used a whiteboard in their dugout to map their “Quality At-Bats,” a system used by the team to track how well batters perform in the batter’s box, showing them what they are doing correctly, even if the score does not always reflect it. “When a lot’s happening in the game we like to slow it down and just go back to the board,” she said.
Beyond the team’s play alone, Pate said that this year has been special due to the growth of the team as a unit from their increased focus on mental health. Pate noted that both the coaches and the players have engaged in open discussions about their lives, leading to both a better understanding of one another and better performances by the team as a whole. “Once you feel comfortable sharing something that’s going on in your life, then you feel like you trust the whole team, and everyone has this mutual respect for each other,” Pate said.
After this weekend, the Scots hold a record of 17-21 overall and are 8-8 in conference play. They look forward to the first round of the NCAC tournament in which they will match up against the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s third-ranked, DePauw University Tigers. The game is set to take place Friday, May 6 in Greencastle, Indiana.