After tallying three total victories against Butler and Saint Louis last weekend, and clinching a sweep in its previous home doubleheader against Mount Saint Mary’s this season, the softball team had reason to take the field Tuesday with unbridled confidence.
The Colonials backed up their poise with another doubleheader sweep as junior Courtney Martin pitched masterfully, shutting out the Mountaineers until the sixth inning. Her performance helped the Colonials cruise to an 8-2 victory over Mount Saint Mary’s in the first game of the doubleheader.
GW (16-17) then churned out another dominating win over the Mountaineers, 5-1. Asserting their composure and focus from the start, the Colonials scored five unanswered runs in the first four innings.
“We knew this team was beatable,” head coach Stacey Schramm said. “I just told my girls to take it one play at a time, and then I knew we could get ahead early and get some runs on the board.”
In game one for the Colonials, Martin showed her control of opposing hitters, tallying nine strikeouts, and not relinquishing a walk until the bottom of the seventh. The first inning proved key for the Colonials, leading the scoreboard after two singles up the middle by seniors Amanda Zakeri and Tara Fogarty racked up two runs for GW.
The Colonials maintained a commanding 3-0 lead into the sixth inning, when Mount Saint Mary’s attempted a comeback, adding two runs to the board. But GW countered when senior Autumn Taylor smacked a home run to left field, setting off a rally that saw two more runs scored in the seventh.
The Colonials allowed the Mountaineers to load the bases in the final frame, but GW kept them from scoring, claiming an 8-2 victory.
The team’s success Tuesday, Schramm said, spilled over from its wins last weekend.
“We set smaller goals on Saturday, and we carried that mentality through today,” Schramm said. “I told the girls that if we stayed disciplined, focused and achieved our goals, then the outcome would be favorable.”
The Colonials began patiently in the second game, with three walks by Zakeri, Fogarty and sophomore Victoria Valos, loading the bases immediately in the first inning. It set up a fast start as the Colonials vaulted to a 5-0 lead.
Rico carried the momentum to the mound, tallying eight strikeouts and giving up only one run.
Schramm was impressed with Rico’s performance and persistence throughout the three-hour, seven-inning matchup – which was called due to darkness.
“Rico threw so well today,” Schramm said. “But she did struggle in the middle of the game, with three walks, yet she has so much speed and movement that I think, sometimes, she actually fools the umpires. I think that everyone can agree that she has been working so hard and is maturing every game.”
The Colonials will play St. Bonaventure Saturday, hoping to keep their momentum going.
“As we move on to Saturday, we are going to focus on each inning of each game and stay in the present,” Schramm said. “For us, it is about the journey, not the end result.”