Softball Starts Season with 6-5 WinBy Lynn Albers
With the score tied 5-5 at the end of the seventh inning, the softball team went into its first extra inning in Wednesday's season opener against Clark University. With Clark's two, three, and four batters, who had combined during the game for four of Clark's five runs, up to bat in the eighth inning, tensions rose in the stands.
Despite the pressure, pitcher Lori Swenson '93 showed excellent control as she forced the number two batter to pop out to shortstop Chrissy Jones '95 and the number three batter to hit a weak grounder to third base Christine Polek '96, who connected with first base Nanette Palmer '94 for a quick two outs. Despite a single by the number four batter, she posed no threat to the Engineers as Swenson took care of the number five batter herself for the last out and her fifth strikeout of the game.
With the sun quickly disappearing and the temperature quickly dropping the Engineers went into the bottom of the eighth. Due at bat were tri-captain and center fielder Jen McMurray '93, Palmer, and Polek. McMurray singled off the second pitch to put the winning run for MIT on the bases. Two wild pitches later, McMurray was on third with no outs. Palmer then grounded to the shortstop who threw home to get McMurray, but the throw came in too late as McMurray slid under the tag to score the winning run giving MIT a 6-5 victory. It was her second run of the game and Palmer's second RBI of the game.
Swenson also had a good day on the other end of the plate scoring the first run of the game for the Engineers when tri-captain and left fielder Colleen Johnson '93 hit an RBI double down the left field line, and hitting a triple down the right field line to drive in the Engineer's seventh inning, tying run to keep MIT in the game. Johnson batted .667 in the game with one RBI and one run.
Dionne Chapman '94 batted .750 in the game and was equally dominant in right field with two key putouts and one assist on a play at second. Also key on the defense was tri-captain and catcher Coleen Kaiser '94 who kept MIT in the game with many beautiful pickups on wild pitches that kept runners from advancing and scoring. In addition, Clark did not attempt to steal as Kaiser kept the runners close to their base. Second base Rama Chiruvolu '95 made many clean plays on defense including a well caught line drive that otherwise could have been the beginning of a bad inning for the Engineers.
"The Clark team was very competitive but it was a delight to win," commented Coach Jean Heiney.
During Spring break the women took their annual trip south to compete in the Rebel Spring Games in Ocoee, Fla. just twenty minutes outside of Orlando. Despite showers every day, the women played four doubleheaders in five days. Facing more difficult competition there than in the North, the team finished the week with a 2-6 record. A couple of those loses could have gone in MIT's favor, including the exciting tie-breaker in their last game against Henry Ford College.