Softball smashed its single-season win record last weekend and leaned on its momentum to earn its 12th and 13th conference wins against Dayton Saturday.
The Colonials (37–15, 13–7 A-10) boast 37 victories – four more than last year’s program-best 33 wins. The team’s success this season has brought it to third in the Atlantic 10, compared to a sixth-place, regular-season finish last year and its highest ranking since 2013.
The Colonials tied their past season win record in their first game of a series against St. Bonaventure in April, eclipsing it again in a subsequent 4–0 win. The squad captured the series, claiming three wins and shutting out the Bonnies twice to cement its place in history.
Over the course of the team’s record-breaking season, junior utility player Jenna Cone smashed the former program record for runs batted in, leading the team and the A-10 with 62 RBI. Junior utility player Jessica Linquist also inked her name in the Division I softball record books with a 28-game hitting streak.
GW also leads the A-10 in batting average, RBI, home runs and stolen bases. The team’s pitching, spearheaded by sophomore utility player Sierra Lange, also leads the conference in wins and strikeouts.
Head coach Shane Winkler said the team has not focused on its win record or individual records the team has amassed this season but focused on conference play and preparing for the A-10 Championship.
“We feel like we have the talent to compete for a championship,” Winkler said. “If we play to our ability level and our potential, then those numbers are just going to be part of the product right there.”
The Colonials’ offense has been blazing since the start of the season. The squad pieced together two eight-game win streaks before A-10 play and entered conference competition 21–7.
The team also won four of its eight series against conference competition, replacing last year’s 12 conference victories with one more series in tow.
Winkler said the Colonials emphasize momentum, especially in A-10 play, to elevate themselves to the postseason. He also wants the squad to play every game with a “championship calibre” heading into the A-10 Championship.
“Everyone comes in with energy,” Winkler said. “Everyone comes in with the same record when it comes to the tournament, but it’s all about stealing momentum when you have an opportunity and then minimizing damage when something does happen on the defensive end.”
GW has increased its number of wins gradually since it earned 23 wins in 2016. The squad tallied five more wins in 2017 and added another five victories in 2018 to reach the former program-best 33 wins.
Junior catcher Priscilla Martinez said the team’s success this year is “exciting” and indicates the program’s continuing development.
“It’s awesome to see the softball program develop as a whole,” Martinez said. “Each year, it’s just getting better and better and it’s so exciting to see.”
The team earned its 12th and 13th wins Saturday in a doubleheader against Dayton to open a three-game series, taking six runs in each game. But the squad ended the series scoreless on Sunday, losing 9–0 to the Flyers.
After the team’s loss to Dayton Sunday, Martinez said the team needs to regroup and focus on small details ahead of the season finale.
“Going down back to the basics is going to really help us to improve what we need on and off the field,” Martinez said.
GW has one more series left in the regular season against La Salle. The Explorers sit at the bottom of the conference rankings with a 5–15 A-10 record.
Senior infielder Marta Fuentes said she enjoyed being a part of the team’s upward growth over the last few seasons and is confident in the team’s direction after she graduates.
“I know that I’m leaving here and leaving the program in good hands and with a good reputation, a good foundation to just move on and continue the success that we’ve had,” Fuentes said.
The Colonials are back in action Saturday to take on La Salle in their last regular season series. First pitch is at noon.
Will Margerum contributed reporting.