The Drexel softball team has settled into its spring season, and while its record leaves much to be desired (13-15, 1-4 Colonial Athletic Association), the Dragons still have a good chunk of their schedule remaining. After a slow start to the season, they have managed to come within two games of .500 and possibly finish the season with a winning record for the first time since 2009.
“We have played some great games and beaten some good teams this so far this year. I am excited for the rest of the season,” head coach Kim Camara said. “We played some really tough teams in the beginning of the year, and that has certainly helped us improve and get better.”
In their quest for a winning record, the Dragons traveled to Hempstead, N.Y. April 1 to face rival Hofstra University (15-12, 5-0 CAA) in a doubleheader. The Pride are currently in first place in the CAA with the only undefeated conference record. The Dragons entered their matchup riding a three-game winning streak consisting of a doubleheader sweep against Bucknell University and a shutout of George Washington University.
Senior pitcher Hillary Allen got the start in the first game, and she received run support early with a home run by senior shortstop Devon Metcalf in the first inning. The home run was Metcalf’s second of the year. Drexel wasn’t able to push any more runs across the plate for the rest of the game, while Hofstra steadily scored runs in the next four innings. Allen was tagged with the loss and seven earned runs, while Hofstra star pitcher Olivia Galati held the Dragons to just one hit for the rest of the game. Hofstra came away with the 8-1 win.
In the second game against Hofstra, the Dragons took the lead in the first inning again with sophomore Shelby Taylor on the mound. Metcalf got things started once again with a single up the middle. Hofstra pitcher Erin Wade then walked senior catcher Paige Collings to put Metcalf in scoring position. Junior Jenn Reading then hit a liner up the middle to send the speedy Metcalf around third to give Drexel the 1-0 lead.
The Dragons’ bats were silent until the fifth inning while the Pride racked up runs — one in the first inning, two in the third and four in the fourth — to give themselves a 7-1 lead in the fifth inning. Drexel managed to fight back by scoring three runs in the fifth inning. Sophomore outfielder Comfort Ahonkhai got things started with a bunt single up the third-base line — she was able to take second base when Hofstra’s third baseman threw the ball away trying to catch Ahonkhai at first. Ahonkhai then moved to third base with a groundout by junior Hanna Parrish. Metcalf continued her productive day by chopping a ball back to the mound, allowing Ahonkhai to showcase her speed and score. Collings then hit a double off the wall in right-center field, allowing Metcalf to score all the way from first base. Drexel scored one more run in the inning off a Hofstra error, making the score 7-4. The Dragons couldn’t score any more runs, while Hofstra scored four more to secure the 4-11 loss for Drexel.
“We played okay against Hofstra,” Camara said. “They are a tough team. To beat them you have to be very good in all three aspects of the game (hitting, fielding and pitching). Throughout the doubleheader we just couldn’t put all three together at the same time.”
After a few days off, the Dragons welcomed Lafayette College to Drexel April 5. The Leopards (5-17, 0-4 Patriot League) entered the game having won three of their last 10 games. Reading, who has a team-high seven home runs on the season, was looking to keep her hot streak going. She has been the Dragons’ star this year with a .338 batting average and 18 runs batted in. Collings, who is having a down year by her standards, is batting .299 with just four home runs and a team-leading 24 RBIs.
“Jenn is a very good hitter,” Camara said. “She worked very hard this summer and offseason to improve at the plate. She has become smarter and more confident each year she has played at Drexel.”
The Dragons got off to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, led by a Collings RBI single to center field. Lafayette scored two runs in the top of the third inning to cut the deficit to two. The Dragons responded in the bottom of fourth inning with three runs of their own to bring their lead to 6-2. Metcalf had a particularly good third inning, hitting a single to right field to bring in two runs. The Panthers scored two more runs in the top of the fifth inning, but they couldn’t manage any more, while the Dragons sealed the 9-4 win.
The Dragons have a three-game series at home against Towson University April 6-7.