MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Williams College softball team put the lead runner on in five of seven innings Friday, but failed to score, dropping a NESCAC West game to rival Middlebury, 3-0.
The two teams play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.
The 14th win in a row moves the Panthers to 19-6, overall and 6-1 in the NESCAC West. Williams falls to 11-17 overall, 4-3 in the NESCAC West.
With an exceptionally strong wind blowing in from center field, extra-base hits would be hard to come by, but in the bottom of the first with a runner on second, Jessa Hoffman smacked an one-out, RBI double to the gap in left field. It would be the lone extra base hit in the contest. Ephs hurler Emma Harrington settled down, getting the next two out, stranding Hoffman at second.
Williams had a runner at third base with two outs in both the first and third innings, but could not punch either runner across as Panther starting pitcher Elizabeth Morris got out of each two-out situation with infield put-outs. The biggest threat for the visitors was in the fourth inning, as Ali Graebner and Kacey Cramer singled to start the frame. Kaitlin Dinet stepped in with no outs and hit a ball to second but was forced out at first. Graebner tried to score from second on the play and was thrown out at home for a double-play. Morris then struck-out the next batter ending the threat.
In the fifth, Williams returned the favor with a twin-killing of its own. After one-out singles by Emma Katz and Alex Scibetta, the Ephs brought in reliever Megan Casey to face Kimber Sable. Sable smacked a liner to first, but Williams' Melissa Cendejas made an unassisted double-play catching the liner and stepping on first to end the inning.
The Panthers did add two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 3-0 lead. After Jackie Stern earned a walk against Casey, she moved to second on a put-out and to third on a wild pitch. Jessica Poracky followed with a smash through the third base side for an RBI single. Poracky was pulled for pinch-runner Kelsey Martel who also moved to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Martel later scored on a throwing error for the 3-0 advantage.
Morris allowed a lead-off runner in the seventh, but after called strike three on the next batter, she enticed the final Williams hitter into a routine 4-6-3 double-play to end the game.
Five Panthers had a hit in the game, led by Hoffman's RBI double. Morris went the distance, allowing six hits over seven scoreless innings, while striking out four.
Of Williams' six hits, Mo Frank was 2-2 with a pair of singles along with a stolen base. Harrington (6-6) took the loss, allowing one earned run over 4.1 innings, with three punch-outs. Casey pitched 1.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) with one strike-out.