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Bombers soar in game one, but suffer crushing defeat in second against the Saxons

The+Ithaca+College+softball+team+surround+junior+pitcher+Anna+Cornell+after+another+great+pitching+performance+in+the+Bombers+8%E2%80%930+victory+against+the+Alfred+University+Saxons+on+April+9.
Malik Clement
The Ithaca College softball team surround junior pitcher Anna Cornell after another great pitching performance in the Bombers 8–0 victory against the Alfred University Saxons on April 9.

It was a tale of two halves at Kostrinsky Field on April 9 as the Ithaca College softball team split its doubleheader with the Alfred University Saxons, winning the first game 8–0 but losing the second 11–0, both in six innings.

First Game:

The Bombers came into the day having won seven of their last eight games including a five game win streak. They also had not yet allowed a run at home, so the all-around dominant performance the South Hill squad put together in the first game did not come as much of a shock to any of the 120 attendees.

Sophomore catcher Haley Petrucci continued her historic power hitting, launching her 10th and NCAA Division III-leading 11th home runs of the season for the first and last runs of the game. The first long ball was a wall-scraper that barely got out in left-center, while the second was smashed so far past that same wall that the opposing outfielder could only stare at it while standing along the fence. Petrucci would ultimately finish hitting three for four, notching four RBIs. She also showed off her defensive chops, throwing out Saxons first-year second baseman Jade Rhys Babas with relative ease on a third inning steal attempt.

There were other notable performances from positional players, including first-year second baseman Elise Waddington, who batted in the game’s other four runs as part of a three hit game. Waddington could very well have finished four for four if not for a diving catch in left-center field by Saxon’s sophomore center fielder Jessica Remm at the bottom of the first inning, robbing Waddington of both a perfect game from the plate and potentially a fifth RBI on the day. As it stands, Waddington sits at 26 RBIs for the year, tied for most in the Liberty League with Petrucci. Someone who was able to hit 1.000 from the plate in this contest was sophomore designated hitter Kailen Winkelblech, who went three for three and hit her sixth double of the year.

Junior pitcher Anna Cornell pitched yet another gem, having not allowed an earned run in three of her last four games prior to her start today. She went six scoreless innings, allowing six hits but no walks and striking out eight batters. Cornell leads the Liberty League in strikeouts with 92, with the next closest pitcher having just 75.

Second Game:

If the crowd’s stunned silence by the end of the game was anything to go by, not a soul who was in attendance of the second game saw the complete disarming of the Bombers coming, but maybe they should have. The South Hill squad had momentum on their side in the form of a now six-game win streak, but the Saxons actually had recent history on their side: Ithaca was 4–6 in their last 10 games against Alfred, and they had not won both games of a doubleheader against the Saxons since the 2018 season.

The Alfred bats that remained dormant for the entire first game suddenly exploded in game two from the very start, and Bombers’ first-year student pitcher Mady Rowell found herself pulled after completing just 1/3 of an inning, having already given up back-to-back home runs and a single. She would finish with three hits allowed, three earned runs, no walks or strikeouts and a 63.00 ERA for the day.

Junior left fielder Meghan Neto slides past sophomore catcher Haley Petrucci to deliver another run for the Saxons. (Malik Clement)

First-year student pitcher Taylor Brunn walked the next batter before allowing a single to load the bases, and now had to work her way out of a jam. A bad inning got worse as a linedrive to shortstop was dropped, leading to a run scoring, before an errant throw to first led to a second run crossing for Alfred. The inning would end 4–0, and the game would end in the Bombers’ greatest margin of defeat since April 7, 2021, when they suffered a 14–3 loss that was coincidentally also against the Saxons.

The Bombers may have finished the second game with just three hits recorded, but that was not because they were not making good contact. Several diving catches were made by Alfred outfielders that prevented potential doubles. Several more well-hit softballs that could have cleared outfield walls with slightly more air under them landed harmlessly in Saxon gloves at the warning track. Additionally, Ithaca left five runners on base, three of which were in scoring position at the time, meaning they could have completely changed the complexion of the game with a hit at the right time.

Looking ahead:

The 16–6 Bombers will now play host to a Liberty League heavyweight battle for their doubleheader against the No. 18 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers at 2 p.m. on April 12 at Kostrinsky Field in Ithaca, New York.

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Malik Clement
Malik Clement, Managing Editor
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