CLERMONT, Fla. -- It was played in Florida in March but had more of a May postseason feel to it. The Williams College softball team defeated the University of Chicago 5-4 in eight innings Wednesday behind dramatic hits from Margo Beck and Kirstin Mapes, then moved to 6-0 with a 13-2, five-inning victory over Western New England at Legends Way Park.
The Ephs are back in action Thursday with a 2 p.m. game against Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a 4:30 p.m. game vs. Wisconsin-Whitewater.
In the first game, Williams trailed Chicago 2-1 with two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the seventh inning when Beck drilled a 2-0 pitch high and deep to left that cleared the fence for her first home run of the season and tied the game at two. After Holli Jones lined a two-run double in the top of the eighth to regain the lead for the Maroons, the Ephs rallied again.
With Jessica Kim on second to start the frame due to the international tiebreaker going into effect, Lexi Curt made it 4-3 by crushing a double into center field. Casey Pelz drew a walk and Rebecca Duncan then lofted a shallow fly to center that was dropped, but Pelz was forced out at second as Curt advanced to third. Curt then scampered home on a wild pitch to tie the game at four. After the second out, another wild pitch allowed Duncan to move to third and Mapes then delivered her home with the winning run on a line drive single to right.
Duncan improved to 3-0 from the circle, going all eight innings and allowing 12 hits and four runs, all earned, while walking one and striking out 10. She had her scoreless innings streak to start the season end at 17 2/3 innings. Beck was 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Riley Savlo was 2 for 3 with an RBI-double. Mapes went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
The defensive play of the game went to Salvo, who made a nifty, sweeping glove-hand catch of a foul bunt attempt behind the plate and near the backstop, avoiding a collision with catcher Curt in the process.
In the second game, Beck gave Williams a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI-groundout, and the Ephs added six in the second and three in the third to build a 10-0 lead.
In the second inning, Pelz led off with a single to left and moved to second on a groundout by Jenny Hickey. Kristina Alvarado beat out a bunt attempt down the third base line for a single and then stole second. Kim grounded an RBI-single between second and third for a 2-0 lead and Curt followed with an RBI-single to right before Mapes delivered the big blow, a long three-run homer to left center that made it 6-0 Ephs.
In the Williams third, Curt had a two-run double to center field. In a three-run fifth, she tripled to right center and scored on Cris McElhinney's RBI-single to left. Beck added a two-run double in that frame, a line drive down the left-field line for a 13-2 lead.
Mapes made her first collegiate start and picked up the win, going five innings and allowing four hits and two runs, both earned,while walking four and striking out four. To recap the sophomore's day: Game-winning walk-off single, first collegiate home run, first collegiate victory in the circle. She finished 4 for 4 with three RBI. Curt was 3 for 4 with three RBI and Beck also had three RBI in the victory. Pelz was 2 for 3 with a run scored.
The Ephs threw two runners out at the plate. In the fourth, with a runner on third and one out, McElhinney caught a fly ball and delivered a strong throw to home that Beck to tag out the runner. A very rare play occurred to end the game: WNEU had runners on first and second with one out. A single up the middle was fielded by Alvarado, and her strong throw nailed the runner at home for out number two. The runner on first was caught between second and third, and Beck ran her down just before she got back to second, diving to make the tag.