Seniors recognized during wet and wild Saturday
For the seniors of Washington University’s softball team, the curse was reversed…kind of.
“We thought Senior Day was cursed,” senior Megan Fieser said. “The past two years it’s been rained out. It’s just not the same without a game.”
Saturday’s Senior Day was supposed to be a doubleheader against Missouri Baptist University, but the second game was washed out. However, before the rain turned into a torrent, the Lady Bears picked up a 2-1 eight-inning victory, winning by the ‘silliest of reasons’ according to Fieser.
With Fieser on second base, classmate Ashton Hitchcock laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing Fieser to third. Sophomore Corissa Santos and senior Ally Berenter were then intentionally walked to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning. “I don’t know why they tried a force at home with the fastest runner on third,” Fieser said. “It’s silly to walk any of our batters.”
Fieser strolled across home plate as junior Claire Voris was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to win the game in extra innings. “It was a messy finish to a messy day,” Voris said.
Voris gave up a solo home run to Missouri Baptist freshman Jenna Bentlage with two outs recorded in the top of the second inning. Voris also struck out 10 as she picked up her 50th career victory.
Voris then made up for her mistake by doubling to lead off the fourth inning. Senior Carter Malouf advanced Voris to third base on a fielder’s choice before classmate Caitlyn Hoffman created Voris’ scoring opportunity. Hoffman popped up to left field, and an error by the Spartan’s catcher led to the tying run.
For the rest of the game, the teams battled rain, drying the ball after one or two pitches, and struggled to score another run due to strong pitching backed up with solid defense.
The Spartans had two potent opportunities to take the game from the Bears. The first arose in the seventh inning. A speedy Spartan tried to sneak by Malouf at home after another Spartan had singled. “Even if you’re on second with two outs, you’re always going home as hard as you can,” Malouf said. Cait [Hoffman] was ready. I was turning and yelling for it, and she was already throwing the ball.” Malouf tagged the sliding Spartan for the final out of the inning.
The second opportunity came in the eighth, with runners on second and third and just one out recorded. Voris struck out the Spartan batter and then induced a fly ball that was snagged by freshman Ashley Janssen. “You just got to stick in the moment, and just work slowly…pitch by pitch,” Voris said. “You don’t really think about who’s where.”
Prior to the game, the seniors were honored by their teammates. “[The underclassmen] really show that they love playing with us,” Fieser said. “That’s what’s important about senior day.”
In their four years, Fieser, Malouf, Hoffman and Hitchcock have captured three University Athletic Association titles and three NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the College World Series in 2007. “This team will miss a lot of those ‘Fabulous Four,’” Berenter said.
Berenter and Voris are competing against each other for the ‘Black and Blue Award.’ Amy Vukovich, who graduated in 2008, and Berenter held the record, being hit by the pitch six times in a single season. When Berenter was hit by Missouri Baptist pitcher Julie Kemp, she reclaimed her title. “We’ve still got some games left and I’m looking to beat it,” Berenter said. “That’s my one true goal I’ve set out this season.” Just two innings later, Voris was hit for the game-winning run, setting the new single-season record at seven.
The Bears face the Division II University of Missouri-St. Louis in a doubleheader on Saturday, May 1, before returning home on Sunday with a doubleheader against Fontbonne University at noon.