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MIT softball beats Emmanuel in first home game

By Adam Braff

In their first home game of the 1989 season, the MIT women's softball team defeated the Emmanuel Saints by the score of 7-3. The game, played under cold and windy conditions, brought the Engineers' record to 3 and 1.

The game was marked by poor Emmanuel fielding; the Saints' fielders committed five errors, prompting their coach, Judy Pearson, to blame the miscues on the fact that five of her nine starters were freshmen. "But MIT didn't earn the win," said Pearson, alluding to the Engineers' weak hitting. MIT's seven runs came on just six hits.

The Saints blew their own chances to earn the win, however. Roseann McEvoy, junior shortstop for the Saints, opened the top of the second with a triple, but clutch pitching by Lisa Johnson '92 kept the Saints from scoring. Johnson struck out the second batter and walked the third. Next she caught a Saint looking at the third strike, but not before the runner on first stole second. Finally, after loading the bases by hitting a Saint batter, Johnson forced senior second baseman Nicky Vasquez to hit into a easy infield force-out.

Emmanuel eventually managed to score in the third inning when one of the freshman starters, Karen Zraket, doubled to left and came home after a steal and a wild pitch.

MIT responded in the bottom of the third with two runs. Right fielder Laura Brauer '89 got on base with a walk and scored when, two at-bats later, Johnson singled and reached third on a throwing error. Johnson then scored on an RBI single from Cecilia Warpinski '90.

In the top of the fourth, Emmanuel retook the lead with two quick hits, a sacrifice, and a fielder's choice to make the score 3-2. The home team tied up the score in the bottom of the inning when first baseman Stephanie Ragucci '90 reached first on an error and scored on another one.

MIT pitcher Johnson shut down the Saints for the remainder of the game, allowing two hits but no more runs. The Tech offense, however, took charge with four more runs in the fifth and sixth innings to put the game away.

After Johnson walked in the bottom of the fifth, she advanced to second on a wild pitch and was singled home by shortstop Caiti Crawford '91. Crawford scored in turn on an opposite-field double hit just fair by Showna Chang '92, MIT's only extra-base hit for the day.

The Engineers scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, initiated by a single up the middle from catcher Michelle Duso '91. After Duso stole second and centerfielder Teri Lowenstein '89 got on with a walk, Johnson followed with a single to second. When the Emmanuel second basemen booted the ball into the outfield, both runners scored. The two runs brought the score to 7-3 in MIT's favor.

In the top of the seventh, MIT's lefty Johnson caused the first two Emmanuel batters to ground out before giving up a long triple to catcher Kristin Powers. Powers was left stranded at third when the next batter flied out to Ragucci at first base, ending the game.

Engineers Coach Jean Heiney remarked after the game on how much improved the Emmanuel team was over last year's version. "We tried to take advantage of the opponent's mistakes," she said, admitting that "they hit the ball farther, and we have to start hitting better."

Coach Heiney was optimistic about her team's chances for the rest of the season, proudly concluding, "Basically, we're awesome."

The Engineers' next home game is a doubleheader against Brandeis tomorrow. The Judges are "a strong conference rival," Heiney said, and MIT will "need one of our best efforts to win." Pitcher Lynn Albers '92 has a joint injury, and may be unavailable to play the second game. Johnson will start the first game.