After claiming a sweep and a split against Trinity University earlier this month, the University of Dallas softball team continued conference play this past weekend, March 25-26, with another pair of doubleheaders against Schreiner University.
Unfortunately, Schreiner gave them a taste of their own medicine, splitting Saturday’s games and sweeping UD on Sunday.
Obviously I am a little upset with the total outcome of the games,” said freshman Mackenzie Tano. “But looking at where our team started the season I could not be more proud.”
Tano was a driving force in UD’s sole win this weekend, kicking off the Crusaders’ offense with a triple to right center when they were down 0-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Tano scored off a passed ball to make it 1-3, and started a streak of four unanswered runs that would lift her team to their sole win in the series.
Classmates Britin Strobel and Lety Morales both scored in the bottom of the fifth, tying the game. Senior Avery Finch got the RBI for Strobel when she singled up the middle and advanced to second on the throw, while freshman Jade Miller sent Morales home when she grounded out to second.
Tano bookended the offense with her game-winning second run of the day in the bottom of the sixth after tripling once more to right center. Freshman Baylee Leifester got the RBI with a double down the left field line.
“I do not think I did anything special rather I did my job in that moment,” Tano said when asked to comment on her role in the victory. “I’m just happy I could help my team come out on top, because no one person can win a softball game.”
After Saturday’s split, the Crusaders got off to a slow start on Sunday, immediately falling to a 0-4 deficit in the first two innings of game one. Although they struck back with four runs of their own in the third and fourth innings, they could not stop Schreiner’s offense from scoring four more runs to end the game 4-8.
Game two, however, was much more tightly contested, with the Crusaders forcing a ninth inning to break the tie at the end of the eighth.
Although UD out with a 4-0 lead and kept the Mountaineers from scoring until the top of the fifth, three unanswered runs from Schreiner in the seventh inning tied the game at 5-5. Each team scored one run in the eighth, sending them into the ninth, where one more run was enough the clinch a 6-7 victory for Schreiner.
“Something…about this weekend is that we never gave up,” said freshman Lauren Galvan, who pitched in all four games this weekend. “We went nine innings in the last game because we were determined to fight back and to continue getting better regardless of the outcome of the games.”
After the Schreiner games, the Crusaders are at fifth place in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) standings with a conference record of 4-4. They are still in position to make the SCAC tournament in the postseason.
“These losses will not define us as a team,” Galvan said. “ If anything, they’re motivation for us to continue working hard every day in order to prepare for our goal of doing well in our conference tournament.”
“We had a very rough start, but I think with every game we just get stronger and more things start to click together,” Tano said. “In the end these games are just a stepping stone towards our conference tournament and I know that when that time comes we will be unstoppable.”
Tano emphasized that there will be a lot of trust and teamwork involved in pursuing their goals in the coming weeks, but said she was confident in her team’s ability to come through for each other.
“We have to rely on each other to do our individual jobs,” Tano concluded. “Knowing that my team always has my back, and supports me no matter what I do makes me confident in every aspect of the game. Not many teams have the chemistry that we have, and I know it will be a key factor in our success as the season progresses.”
The Crusaders continue their conference campaign with another pair of doubleheaders on the road against Southwestern University on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1.