CHICOPEE, Mass. — The Southern Vermont College softball team opened up its New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) schedule Thursday afternoon on the road against Elms College, falling 14-0 and 14-6 in a pair of shortened five-inning contests at Cheryl R. Condon Field.
The hosting Blazers grabbed a sizable lead in the early-going of game one before padding it through the next few frames to end it early. The Mountaineers then went in front with their at bats in both the first and second innings of the day-cap, only to see EC answer each time to take the upper hand; Elms maintained its separation the rest of the way to finish off the sweep.
SVC (0-8, 0-2 NECC) is off until next Thursday, March 31 when it turns to an away, non-conference doubleheader at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts set to begin at 3:30 p.m.
GAME 1: Elms 14 – Southern Vermont 0 (5 inn.)
The Blazers tacked up five runs in the bottom of the first in the opener before adding four more over the next two frames. A final five-spot by EC in the fourth put the game out of Southern Vermont's reach as the eight-run rule came into effect after the Mountaineers' turn to bat in the fifth.
Mountaineer freshman Taylor Blake (West Charleston, Vt.) took the loss from the circle (0-4) after going four innings with the start.
Southern Vermont got some action going in the top of the first when senior Rachel Robtoy (Baltic, Conn.) got on base with a one-out walk. Bench's double put the pair into scoring position, but that would be as far as they'd get as Elms was able to retire the side. The Blazers then notched five runs in the bottom of the inning to take a lead that would prove to be big enough for the win.
EC tallied one run in the second and another three in the third to go in front 9-0. Bench started the fourth with a lead-off single for her second hit of the day, and Matthews then followed with a single to short for SVC to get a pair on the pond. The Blazers' pitching and defense would prevent the runners from advancing as Elms got out of the inning unscathed. The hosts then padded their cushion with five in the bottom of the box and finished off the victory in the fifth by retiring the Southern Vermont side in order.
GAME 2: Elms 14 – Southern Vermont 6 (5 inn.)
The Mountaineers jumped out to a quick advantage in game two with a run in the top of the first. Elms responded with two in the bottom of the frame to take the lead, but SVC regained the upper hand in the second with two of its own.
Once again, EC had an answer as the Blazers crossed the plate eight times in the home half of the second to go ahead by seven. Elms scored twice in the third before Southern Vermont cut into its deficit with three runs through the top of the fifth; the Blazers extended their lead back to eight in the bottom of the inning to walk off with their second win of the afternoon.
Robtoy went 3-4 at the dish with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored while Matthews was 2-3 with three runs batted in. Freshman Ashley Boise (New Haven, Vt.) registered her first collegiate hits with a 2-3 performance in the batters' box, adding a run scored to her line. Fellow freshman Christina Moore (Wilmington, Vt.) turned in a 2-3 showing at the plate, knocking in a run and scoring two others in the effort.
Bennington College sophomore Caroline Adams (Lakeville, Mass.) saw her first collegiate action on the rubber for SVC, suffering the loss (0-1) after going the game's first two innings with the start.
Southern Vermont came out strong, Robtoy singling to center before moving up when freshman third baseman Kayla Emmi (Syracuse, N.Y.) singled to second. A passed ball advanced both runners into scoring position, and Matthews pushed in Robtoy with an RBI bunt single for the 1-0 lead.
The Mountaineers wouldn't stay in front for long as Elms answered with two runs on a pair of hits and a walk in the bottom of the inning. SVC continued its offensive success in the second with two of its own, being aided by a pair of Blazer fielding miscues. The two EC errors placed Southern Vermont runners at the corners, and a stolen base by junior Lissa Soler (Yonkers, N.Y.) put the pair into scoring position for Robtoy. The SVC captain tagged a single to right, plating both Mountaineers on board to put the visitors up 3-2.
Elms stormed back in the home half of the second, chalking up a crooked eight for a sizable advantage. Boise tallied a two-out single up the middle for her first career hit in the top of the third, but the rookie would get stranded there as EC worked out of the inning. The Blazers scored twice more in the bottom of the frame, taking a 12-3 upper hand into the fourth.
Southern Vermont got those two runs back in the next box, scoring both with two outs to trim the Elms lead. Moore singled to start the inning and moved up 60 feet on a Robtoy walk. Bench then loaded the bases with a two-out hit, and Matthews followed with SVC's third single of the frame as Moore and Robtoy both touched the plate to make it a 12-5 ballgame.
EC got runners to first and second in the bottom of the fourth, only to see Moore, who had entered the circle in relief the previous inning, end the threat by retiring the side with a ground out back at her. The fifth began with a single to center off Boise's bat, and a grounder to the pitcher allowed her to move up to second. Moore then came through with an RBI-double, scoring her teammate to make it a seven-run difference. Elms used extra base hits to end the game in the fifth, however, as a solo home run and back-to-back doubles ensued for the EC separation to be large enough for the game to end ahead of schedule.