WILLIAMSTOWN, MA— Junior Rebecca Duncan went 6 for 7 Sunday including a walk-off, game-winning RBI double in the bottom of the seventh of game one, to help the Williams College softball team celebrate its five seniors in style with a 2-1, 9-1 sweep of Bates College at Cole Field.
The wins extended the Ephs' win streak to 12 games and improved their overall record to 23-4 on the season. The Ephs are at NESCAC West rival Amherst Friday for the opener of a three-games series beginning at 5 p.m. Williams will host the Mammoths Saturday for a doubleheader to complete the series beginning at 12 p.m. The Bobcats slip to 8-15 on the season.
Both games ended on one final swing — the opener when Duncan drove an RBI-double to the fence in left-center field to score Jessica Kim with one out in the bottom of the seventh that gave the Ephs a 2-1 win — and the nightcap when first year Rachel Neugart rocketed a blast to right-center field that cleared the fence for a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth and for a 9-1 lead, thus invoking the eight-run mercy rule and ending the contest.
The opener was a suspenseful pitcher's duel between the Bobcats' Kirsten Pelletier and Eph senior Mackenzie Murphy. Both were adept at leaving the opponent's offense wanting more. Bates took the lead in the top of the third when Emily Samar led off with a hard-shot single off the glove of Eph shortstop Kim. Kennedy Ishii forced her out at second, but Ishii took second on a single from Caroline Bass. A throwing error allowed Ishii to score, but Murphy stranded runners on second and third when she struck out the next two batters.
The Ephs tied it in their half of the third when Senior Kristina Alvarado led off with a single and moved to third on a passed ball and then a wild pitch. With one out, Duncan hit a hard grounder back up the middle that the Bates second sacker knocked down but could not throw her out, allowing Alvarado to score the tying run.
Murphy kept it 1-1 by escaping jams in both the fourth and fifth. In the fourth, she allowed a lead-off double to Mary Collette and saw the runner advance to third on a groundout. But she retired the next two batters on a pop up to the circle and a foul out to Kirstin Mapes at first to end the frame. In the Bates' fifth, singles by Ishii and Aleah Pagan put runners on second and third with one out, but Murphy again reached back and fanned the next two hitters to keep the score tied.
It ended quickly as with one out in the bottom of the seventh Kim beat out another infield single to second, stole second base, and scored when Duncan socked a ball to the fence in left-center for a game-winning double.
Murphy improved to 9-2 with the win, going 7 innings and allowing eight hits. She did not walk a batter, struck out six and allowed one unearned run. Duncan was 3 for 4 with both RBI for the Ephs, while Kim was 2 for 4 with a run scored.
Williams took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first of the nightcap and never looked back en route to the 9-1 lead. With one out, Duncan singled up the middle and Murphy looped a single to left. After an out, Casey Pelz drew a walk to load the bases and Riley Salvo followed with a sinking liner to right that fell for a two-run single. It went to 3-0 in the second when Kim hit a laser to right center for a solo home run. Bates got one back in its half of the fourth when Janell Sato smashed a solo blast to left that made it 3-1.
The Ephs scored three times in the fourth and three more in the sixth to put the game away. In the fourth, Kim singled, stole second and scored on Duncan's single to center. After an out, Mapes hit a long home run to left center — her sixth of the season— for a 6-1 lead. In the sixth, Mapes reached on an error, Pelz hit a frozen rope that was knocked down at third for an infield single and Neugart followed with a three-run rocket to right center for her first collegiate home run and a 9-1 win.
Mapes improved to 4-0 with the victory, going the first five innings from the circle and giving up one hit and one run while walking two and striking out six. Emma Corbett pitched a scoreless fame in the win. At the dish, Duncan was 3 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Kim was 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored, Mapes was 2 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored, and Pelz was 2 for3 with a run scored.