Andrew Dawson, Staff Writer |
SUNY Oneonta’s softball team battled SUNY Cortland in a doubleheader on Saturday, Apr. 10. Both games were played at the Red Dragon Softball Field and Oneonta was looking to improve on their impressive 3-1 record.
Cortland jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after scoring in the top of the first inning. However, the Red Dragons answered back in the bottom of the third inning. Senior Meaghan Raleigh led off the inning and was awarded first base after fighting off pitches to earn a walk. Raleigh advanced to second base after a ground ball was hit back to the pitcher’s mound. Then Oneonta’s starting shortstop, senior Caroline Koch, belted a ball into left field, scoring Raleigh.
While this was a close game through the first three innings, Cortland was able to regain the lead in the top of the fourth inning. The play of the game came off the bat of Cortland’s Kelly O’Gorman. With the bases loaded and the game tied 1-1, O’Gorman came up to the plate. Oneonta’s starting pitcher, freshman Lauren Weber, missed with the location of her pitch. The catcher wanted the pitch low and outside, but Weber threw it over the heart of the plate. O’Gorman connected on the pitch, crushing the ball over the centerfield fence. O’Gorman hit a grand slam, giving Cortland a 5-1 lead.
Oneonta tried to overcome the deficit later in the game, but the damage had been done. In the final inning, Oneonta had runners on second and third base with freshman Delaney Haley up to bat. Haley hit a ground ball that resulted in a fielder’s choice, but the runner from third scored. Koch was the next to bat and she ripped a fly ball to deep left field, but the left fielder made the play. Raleigh was able to score off the sacrifice fly, but the rally ended after a ground ball was hit to the third baseman.
Oneonta lost the first game of the doubleheader 9-4, but the Red Dragons came to play in the second game.
The Red Dragons must have focused on playing more aggressively in the second game because they did just that. Raleigh led off the game for the Red Dragons with a hard-hit single to left field. Haley batted next and was given the bunt sign by her head coach. Haley executed the bunt perfectly down the third baseline. Not only did Raleigh advance to second, but Haley also reached first base safely. Two pitches later, Raleigh and Haley were aggressive on the base path and stole second and third base. Koch was the next to bat and she broke our deadlock tie with a one-run single into right field. Haley scored when a ground ball was hit to second base. Later in the inning, sophomore Gianna DiGiovanni doubled in the gap of left-centerfield and Koch scored on the hit, giving Oneonta a 3-0 lead. The Red Dragons didn’t stop there and added to their lead as freshman Victoria Hines hit a perfectly timed single to right field, scoring DiGiovanni.
The Red Dragons added extra insurance runs in the next inning when Koch headed back to the plate. Koch smoked a ball into centerfield, scoring Raleigh from second base. Oneonta also scored two more runs in the fourth inning when senior Amber Badillo hit a double to deep left field with two runners in scoring position.
While Oneonta had a 7-0 lead entering the final inning of the game, Cortland didn’t give up hope. Cortland recorded four hits in the final inning with five runs scored. However, only one of these runs were considered earned runs for Oneonta’s pitcher, freshman Marissa Dionisio, because of two fielding errors by Oneonta’s shortstop and left fielder. While the game became closer than Oneonta wanted it to be, they still were able to hold on and earn the victory in the final inning.
The players of the game for Oneonta were Koch and Dionisio. Koch was 3-3 hitting the ball, she had two RBI’s (runs batted in) and scored two runs. Dionisio was the starting pitcher for the Red Dragons, and she only gave up six hits and one earned run in six innings of work.
Hopefully, the Red Dragons can continue their impressive season when they play a doubleheader against Plattsburgh on Sunday, Apr. 18. The games will be held at the Red Dragon Softball Field at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.