TYLER, TX. -- It's unlikely the great poet Dylan Thomas had the 2019 Williams College softball team in mind when he wrote "Do not go gentle into that good night."
But he should have.
Once again, and for the last time, the Ephs displayed a grit and determination not seen all that often as, down to their last two strikes and trailing by eight runs, they jumped up off the canvas and gave Trine University a scare worthy of John Carpenter. Ultimately, the Ephs saw the curtain fall on their 2019 journey with a 10-7 defeat at Suddenlink Field.
They left the University of Texas-Tyler with a fifth-place finish in the nation, the second-best effort in program history, a 39-7 record, which tied the 2018 team's mark for single-season wins, and a whole stadium full of new admirers.
The five Eph seniors co-captains Jessica Kim and Casey Pelz; Mackenzie Murphy, Kristina Alvarado and Jill Jenkin, finish their career with a 151-39 record, good for a .795 win percentage. The 151 wins are the most produced by any class in program history.
Saturday, Williams trailed 8-0 entering the bottom of the fifth and with the threat of the eight-run mercy rule ending the game if they did not score. With two outs and nobody on, Mara Kipnis was hit by a pitch. Kim stepped to the plate and drilled a 1-1 pitch deep into the gap in left-center field. The ball got through to the fence and Kipnis never stopped running until she crossed home plate, giving Kim an RBI-double and keeping the Ephs alive.
Junior Kirstin Mapes ignited the Ephs' sixth-inning rally by launching a solo home run to center field to make it an 8-2 game. At that point, Trine switched pitchers, going to Kate Saupe, but the left-hander walked Rebecca Duncan and Jenny Hickey and hit Riley Salvo to load the bases with no outs and the Thunder brought back starter Hannah Kampmann. Dacia Green re-greeted Kampmann with a line drive RBI-single to left. Alvarado drew a four-pitch bases-loaded walk to make it 8-4 and Kipnis delivered a sacrifice fly to right-center to score pinch-runner Rachel Neugart.
With runners on second and third and one out, Kampmann fanned Kim on a 3-2 checked swing strike and retired Murphy on a foul out to first to end the threat.
Trine countered with two more runs in the top of the seventh when Michaela Hartline hit her second home run of the game, a two-run shot that made it 10-5. But the Ephs weren't done. Duncan singled with one out in the home half of the seventh, and Pelz was re-inserted into the line-up. She delivered with a majestic blast to straightaway center field that went for a two-run homer and cut the deficit to 10-7.
However, the rally would end there as Kampmann retired the next two hitters to end the contest and the Ephs' season.
Murphy would take the loss, falling to 12-4. She gave up five hits and five runs, all earned, while walking two and striking out two over 2 2/3 innings,
Hartline (2 for 3, 6 RBI) started the scoring in the second as she was hit by a pitch with bases loaded. In the third, the Thunder kept up the offensive assault. Junior Victoria Porter came up with a single to left center to bring in one run. Then Hartline cleared the bases with her first homer of the day, picking three RBI to make it 5-0. They added three in the fourth off Mapes, including a solo home run for Ashley Swartout, for the eight-run advantage.
Williams had eight hits in the loss. Duncan was 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored. Pelz was 1 for 2 with her home run and 2 RBI.
NOTES: Murphy wrapped up her career the all-time wins leader (58) at the school with the highest career winning pct. (58-13, .816) of all-time. Her 2.25 ERA was fifth-best and her 439 1/3 innings pitched the fourth most in program history. At the plate, she finished second all-time in total bases (366), doubles (47), home runs (34), RBI (147), third in hits (205), sixth in runs scored (109) and 7th in batting average (.383). With her double Saturday, Kim tied a single-season record at Williams with her 16th of 2019. Arguably the best defensive shortstop in Williams history, Kim finished her career in the Top 4 of 10 different offensive categories. She broke the career runs scored record set by Joey Lye, finishing with 158. She had 574 at-bats, most in program history. She was second in games played (168), hits (207), triples (9), and total bases (318). She was third in career doubles (39), and fourth in home runs (18), RBI (105), and stolen bases (44). Alvarado played in her 47th career NCAA Tournament game, 25 with softball and 22 with women's soccer. She played in five different NCAA championship events; three women's soccer Final Fours and two softball national championships. She won three national championships with women's soccer and helped softball to a third-place finish (2017) and a fifth-place finish (2019), the two best finishes in program history. Pelz's pinch-hit HR in her last at-bat was the 100th hit of her career. She finished tied for 7th in doubles (25) and sixth in home runs (15) all-time, and her 47 walks were 9th best. Jenkin set career highs in every category in 2019, and had a 1.000 fielding pct. in the outfield.