In a do-or-die three-game season finale against the University of Delaware, the Drexel University softball team fell just short of making the Colonial Athletic Association postseason tournament.
“It was disappointing that we did not make the tournament,” head softball coach Kim Camara said. “But I am proud of the way the team played all year. They fought hard and just came up short.”
When the series began May 4 on Blue Hen turf, the Dragons needed to win one of the day’s two games in order to stay in the running for the postseason. They managed to achieve that goal, losing the first contest 2-1 but shutting out Delaware 2-0 in the second.
It wasn’t until the first game’s third inning that a Blue Hen slid past catcher Paige Collings at home plate by taking advantage of two Drexel errors — the first by Devon Metcalf, who couldn’t get a grip on a fierce grounder, and the second by Sylvia Llamas, who bobbled and dropped a hit. These errors led to runs by Delaware’s Jessica Grisler and Alicea Coy.
In the fifth, the Dragons earned their first and only run of the game when starting pitcher Hillary Allen blasted a double and was propelled home thanks to efforts from her teammates. Though Allen earned a run for her team, her efforts on the mound and swinging a bat weren’t enough to win the game. Allen took the loss for the game even though she didn’t allow a single earned run.
Entering the second game, the Dragons were fired up and ready to compete at a high level. They knew that if they lost the second game, it would be the end of the road for them.
With that mentality, sophomore Shelby Taylor pitched a complete-game shutout.
There was a lot of back-and-forth in the first few innings trying to get on base and score. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Drexel junior Amanda Bachmann, with Maddison Timoteo on base, slammed a ball out of the park.
These would prove to be the only runs of the contest, giving the Dragons the win they needed to keep their CAA playoff hopes alive.
“Playing as a team is vital to success,” Camara said. “We played as a team, and it allowed us to win close games.”
The Dragons’ regular season came to a close the following day, May 5, when their success ran out on the final pitch of a 10-inning battle to the end.
Though the Blue Hens earned the first run in the bottom of the first, the Dragons quickly answered with two of their own in the second inning — one each from Bachmann and Caprice DeMirjian.
Thanks to efforts from Allen and Bachmann, the Dragons added another run in the fourth inning, but Delaware tied the game with two runs in the sixth. The Blue Hens looked as though they would pull out a win in the seventh, but good Drexel defense and a focused pitcher forced the game into extra innings.
Back-and-forth attempts ended in the 10th when a member of the Blue Hens converted an initial walk into a scoring run, thus concluding the hard-fought battle with a final score of 4-3.
“We missed a few opportunities with people in scoring position, but they played their hearts out this weekend,” Camara said. “[My team] left it all on the field, and there is nothing wrong with that.”
An upside of the contest was that first baseman Jenn Reading recorded her 27th walk of the season to break the Drexel record of 26 set by Barb Svanson in 1989.
Drexel finished its regular season with a record of 22-26 and 7-13 in the CAA.