Despite scattered rain and an influx of illnesses and injuries, the GW softball team managed to split a doubleheader against local rival George Mason Wednesday on the Mount Vernon Field.
It took GW six innings to score against the Patriots in the first game, but runs by freshmen Jamie Yaniga and Ali Waterman and junior Amanda Gabriel in the sixth and seventh closed out George Mason 3-2.
But the Colonials (10-13, 1-3 Atlantic 10) lost their momentum in the second game of the doubleheader, falling 6-2 to the Patriots, despite a home run by sophomore Katie Terrazas.
Head coach Kim Staehle said the difference in second game was based on several factors, including defensive errors and a pitcher switch-up.
“We started our freshman pitcher Heidi Penna, and we did make a couple of errors which really didn’t help her out. But offensively, we weren’t able to collect some hits for extra bases with runners in scoring position and that didn’t help Heidi out that much,” Staehle said. “But I think she’s been throwing well in the last two days for us, and she’s certainly someone that has learned a lot in a short amount of time, and we’re going to need her.”
At this point, the team needs all the players who can still run, hit and throw. Two key freshmen, shortstop Krissy Mackiewicz and catcher Jillian Stanley, are recovering from flu-like symptoms. Other, more serious injuries, Staehle said, are hurting the team’s potential.
“We have had our share of injuries and illnesses, kids have been in and out with flu-like symptoms and sometimes it affects the whole team. Injury-wise [freshman] Kara Clauss has been battling some shoulder stiffness, and that’s really affected us with her ability to throw innings for us,” Staehle said.
She added, “We also have a senior, Carrie Higdon, who went down with an ankle injury about a week and a half ago, so that’s affected us tremendously because she’s so experienced. She’s been real pivotal defensively on the infield for us and those injuries add up. Sometimes it’s hard to replace the experience that she brings to our lineup.”
It’s that experience Staehle will look for to help carry the team through a four-game weekend that will bring conference rivals Temple and Saint Josephs to Mount Vernon. Though two-thirds of the team is underclassmen, Staehle said the older girls’ experience can pull them through what could be a pivotal weekend.
“I consider this a pivotal weekend coming up,” Staehle said. “But historically, we’ve done very well against both programs, particularly last season sweeping Temple and in the previous season sweeping St. Joe’s. So I know that our upperclassmen are certainly ready for that challenge.”
Big bat: Sophomore shortstop Katie Terraras is leading the team with a .284 average, 15 runs batted in, 23 hits and a .341 on base percentage.