Softball goes undefeated at Colonial Classic

Media Credit: Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor

Junior Jenna Cone hits a single in the fifth inning of Sunday's game against Manhattan College.

Softball continued its hot start to the season going undefeated at the Colonial Classic this weekend.

The Colonials (18–3) played five games in three days, hosting Cornell, UMBC, Canisius and Manhattan at the Mount Vernon field.

GW’s red hot offense was firing on all cylinders, tallying 45 runs over the course of the weekend.

“We’ve got to be as aggressive as possible to get one run at a time as quick as we can,” head coach Shane Winkler said. “It puts more pressure on the other team and takes more pressure off ourselves.”

Junior utility player Jenna Cone batted .647 and hammered five home runs en route to setting a new program record with 37 career homers.

Sophomore utility player Sierra Lange pitched 18.2 out of 22 innings over the course of the weekend and added six runs batted in at the plate.

“To have a pitcher that hits third in your lineup and is your starting pitcher is literally so incredible,” Cone said. “She’s such a fire for this team.”

After narrowly topping Canisius (0–11) 10–8 Friday morning, the Colonials dismantled UMBC (6–6) 11–3, triggering the run rule and ending the game after five innings.

GW again forced an early stoppage Saturday by building a 10–1 lead over Manhattan (4–5) after five innings.

On Sunday, GW was scheduled for another double-header in rematches against Canisius and Manhattan. The Colonials downed Canisius in the fisrt game 13–5 before serving Manhattan a 5–4 loss.

The Colonials wasted no time in taking an early 4–0 lead against Canisius in their first game of the day Sunday.

GW held Canisius scoreless through two innings as the Colonials tallied four runs after two frames to take a 4–0 lead over the Griffins.

The Griffins got on the scoreboard with an RBI single by Canisius freshman infielder Hannah Catallo-Stooks in the top of the third inning, but the Colonials added four more runs to their lead in the bottom of the frame.

Junior catcher Priscilla Martinez launched a pitch from freshman pitcher Hayley Tomaro deep beyond the left field wall for a two-run home run to increase GW’s lead 6–1.

With two outs in the frame, sophomore infielder Alessandra Ponce entered the game as a pinch-hitter and raked an RBI double into the gap in center field to push GW’s lead 8–1.

A four-run fourth inning for Canisius brought the Griffins within three runs of the Colonials 8–5. But the runs kept coming for the Colonials in the bottom of the fourth as Cone ripped a pitch over the fence in left field to increase GW’s lead to 9–5.

But the Colonials came out swinging in the bottom of the fifth inning, tacking on four runs in the frame to trigger the run rule and end the game with the final score reading 13–5 in favor of GW.

Junior infielder Elena Shelepak smacked the game-ending hit after she singled down the third base line, scoring sophomore outfielder Sidney Bloomfield and senior outfielder Criza Buland to end play.

“They say hitting is contagious so you just need one person to start it off,” Cone said. “To see one through nine, all of our girls getting in, getting big hits, scoring, it’s just super exciting.”

The bats cooled off considerably in the last game of the weekend against Manhattan but the Colonials pulled off the 5–4 win on the coattails of a four-run sixth inning.

The Colonials were able to grab an early 1–0 lead after the first frame but were held scoreless through the second, third and fourth innings by the Jaspers.

In the top of the third inning, Manhattan freshman infielder Annie Moore hit a double to center field to help the Jaspers cross the plate and tie the game 1–1.

With one out in the home half of the third inning, Cone smashed a line drive double into center field. Shelepak drew a walk on a passed ball and then stole a base to put runners on second and third with Martinez up to bat, but she popped out and stranded both players on base.

Another RBI double by the Jaspers in the top of the fifth inning moved Manhattan up 2–1.

But in the bottom of the sixth, GW got some offense cooking with two outs. Senior infielder Marta Fuentes lined a single into left field and stole second base. Bloomfield laid down a bunt and reached first safely while moving Fuentes to third.

Junior utility player Jessica Linquist had a chance to tie the game in the next at-bat but instead reached first on a passed ball to load the bases.

With the game on the line, Cone sent the second pitch she saw for a ride over the right field wall for a grand slam, a record-setting hit for her, that put the Colonials in control 5–2 entering the top of the seventh inning.

“The only thing that I was thinking of was just to hit it hard somewhere,” Cone said. “I just wanted to score some runs somehow for our team.”

A late Jaspers rally loaded the bases with one out in the final frame, and Moore stepped up with a single to center field that scored two, closing the gap to 5–4. Lange, who tossed 115 pitches in the contest, forced a groundout and a popup to secure the win.

“If we need to, Sierra can throw multiple games in a day and throw 150, 175 pitches in a day and still be effective,” Winkler said. “We know we have enough depth to be successful there.”

GW is back in action Wednesday with a doubleheader on the road against Towson. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.

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