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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Softball advances after shaky day one of A-10 tournament

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Alex Kist.

Members of the softball team huddle during a game earlier this season. The Colonials move on to the second round of the A-10 tournament after their 2-1 win over Dayton. Hatchet File Photo by Cameron Lancaster | Contributing Photo Editor

Top of the seventh, bases loaded, junior Courtney Martin stood with a fearless presence on the mound.

At the plate, Dayton senior Kathleen Maloof looked for one hit, one run to tie up the game and keep her team alive in the Atlantic 10 Championships.

With a pop-up to the shortstop, Martin secured a spot for the Colonials in the next round, while Maloof and the Flyers watched their journey end in the double-elimination tournament on day one.

The win for the No. 4 seed GW shored up a rain-soaked, battle-tested day and helped them advance after an earlier loss to the No. 5 seed Saint Louis Billikens (27-21).

The Colonials quickly fell behind 2-0 to Saint Louis in the top of the second, after a walk, two hits contributed to the Billikens’ early and sustainable lead.

The Billikens continued to pour on the runs, racking up two more in the top of the third to go up 4-0.

“We were still trying to mentally focus and prepare for the game,” head coach Stacey Schramm said. “We dug ourselves in a hole and we could not get out of it.”

GW came out in the sixth inning ready to counter Saint Louis’ lead, using a double up the middle by sophomore Victoria Valos and a hard single by senior Autumn Taylor to put the Colonials on the scoreboard, 4-2.

On the defensive side, GW pitchers held Saint Louis down, keeping the Billikens from scoring any more runs in the game’s second half.

“[Freshman Meghan] Rico came in and did a good job of just shutting their hitters down and I think our defense kind of realized what we were doing and decided they were going to make plays for her,” Schramm said. “The momentum shifted into our favor, but we still couldn’t get enough runs and the hole proved too deep for the Colonials to resurface from.”

The comeback would end there though, as the Colonials’ bats could not muster any more runs themselves.

In between games Schramm said she tried to fire up her players by reminding them all that was at stake.

“Clearly they want a championship, that’s what we trained and worked all year for, but there is a difference between wanting it and doing what it takes to get it,” Schramm said. “Every player on her team wants to win the championship this year but the key is going to be for each player to not just talk the talk we have to walk the walk”.

The Colonials took Schramm’s words and made the best of their second chance in game two to advance to the next round of A-10 play.

The match-up against No. 6 seeded Dayton (22-24) began in a similar fashion to the loss just hours before, as the Flyers grabbed the lead and the Colonials’ bats remained dormant until late in the game.

A solo home run by Dayton shortstop Jordan Jennings in the top of the fifth broke open the scoreless battle, and gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead.

A sacrifice bunt by Valos in the bottom of the fifth, though, allowed two GW runners to advance and finally score off a hit from sophomore Samantha Dos Santos.

“The sacrifice bunt at the bottom of the fifth inning was clutch”, Schramm said. “We had players on first and second and Valos put a solid bunt on the ground, and even though she was thrown out, she was amazing. Dos Santos also demonstrated her momentum on the field and really battled with two strikes on her and just hit all the way up the middle and put two runs up on the board”.

From the rubber, Martin made up for GW’s slow offensive start, allowing just four hits and four walks in a complete-game effort, where she also struck out seven.

Behind Martin, the Colonials were able to maintain their slim one-run lead, and escape with a 2-1 victory.

After splitting day one’s games, Schramm said she is hopeful that the team will keep its focus and determination continuing on to another A-10 matchup on Thursday.

“We are confident in both of our pitchers and I think that’s going to give us the best shot to do well,” Schramm said. “We have two really good pitchers so hopefully they can get us through back to the championship and they’ll meet their goal.”

The team will square off at 3 p.m. Thursday against the lower-seeded loser of Thursday’s first two games, which feature No. 1 Saint Joseph’s against the Billikens and No. 2 Fordham versus No. 3 Temple.

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