Softball has a rough start to the 2019 season in Florida | The Triangle

Softball has a rough start to the 2019 season in Florida

Junior Hannah Walker (21) hit her first triple of the 2019 season at the Madeira Beach Spring Invitational Feb. 16 against Belmont University (Photograph courtesy of Ryan Swanson).

The Drexel University softball team had a bit of a rocky season last year. With a final record of 21-29-2, the Dragons looked to bounce back this year. In the offseason, they added five new players to the team, all of whom are from local high schools. This local talent may be the boost the team needs to dominate this season.

To start their season, the softball team competed in the first weekend of the Madeira Beach Spring Invitational in Florida Feb. 15-17. Multiple teams from all across the country competed in this event. Drexel’s first match was against the University of Akron. This was a momentous game as two Drexel players, junior Linda Rush and sophomore Kristi DiMeo, scored their first home runs. Akron started off the game with a three run lead in the first inning, but DiMeo’s two-run home run closed that gap to one. In the  fifth inning, Rush made her contribution with another two-run home run. However, these were the only runs they would score in the game, as they lost 8-4.

Their next game was against the College of the Holy Cross. This game was not as momentous as the first. The Dragons failed to score a run in the game, while the Crusaders took the match, 6-0.

Next up was South Dakota State University, where the Dragons really got some traction. Rush hit the 30th home run of her career, which broke the Drexel softball career home run record. This two-run home run cut South Dakota’s lead in half, as they scored four runs beforehand. To add to this, both DiMeo and Rush hit home runs later in the game to give Drexel an 8-7 lead. However, South Dakota responded with two home runs of their own and defeated the Dragons, 11-8.

Next in the tournament was Belmont University, which ended up being a tough opponent for the Dragons. Junior Hannah Walker hit her first triple of the season to bring in a run for Drexel. However, that was all the Dragons could muster up as Belmont had a nine-run sixth inning to secure their victory over the Dragons, 16-1.

In their next game against Butler University, the Dragons had a two-run lead until the seventh inning. A single from sophomore Reilly Jo Swanson brought in two runs. But Butler had other plans as they scored three runs in the the seventh inning to bring them to a 3-2 lead. Drexel got a few opportunities to come back but failed to do so, and the Dragons lost, 3-2.

The Dragons will continue this tournament with matches against the University of Detroit Mercy, Siena College, Cornell University, South Dakota State again and Colgate University Feb. 22-24. Drexel will have to battle hard to come back from a 0-5 deficit, but they have the potential to do so in the coming games.