Softball Struggles Against In-State Hartford

Daniel Fappiano, Layout Editor

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After a 12-game road stint to begin their season, Central Connecticut softball returned home to take on in-state rival Hartford. Despite their homecoming, the Blue Devils were only able to win one of the four games against the Hawks.

Game one saw Central’s bats go cold as they were shut out over seven innings. Of the five hits the team did muster, freshmen Rian Eigenmann and Carli Backlund both came away with two. Fellow freshman Carley Stoker allowed just three runs but still came away with the loss. Despite the defeat, Stoker managed to strikeout seven Hawks, a new season-high.

The Blue Devils were able to bounce back in game two, winning their lone game by a score of 10-5. Backlund shined again with a two-run home run while fellow rookie Alexa Milius contributed three RBI of her own. Sophomore Sydney Bolan continued to be a force at the plate as she belted her team-leading fourth home run of the year.

Following the team’s loss in game one, Head coach Breanne Gleason was impressed with her teams’ ability to readjust in game two.

“I think our focus up to bat was better, I think we knew we had a job to do,” Gleason said.  “I think in the first, we let a couple at-bats get away from us. But I think in the second, every at-bat had a purpose.”

Gleason was also impressed with not just Backlund’s bat, but her ability to move from first to second base in the wake of senior Kaitlin Paterson’s injury.

“She’s actually naturally a shortstop. She could play anywhere,” Gleason said. “I could probably put her on the mound and she could figure it out. She’s one of those kids.”

Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, the team was unable to continue their momentum in game three on Sunday. Central held a 7-4 lead into the sixth inning and looked to be on their way to another victory. Hartford then scored three runs to tie the game in the sixth before scoring another two in the ninth to steal the victory 9-7.

Bolan continued to assert herself at the plate in the loss, blasting her fifth home run of the season. The Hawks clearly understood her potential as they intentionally walked her every bat after the homer. Eigenmann continued to make an impact with a double and two RBI while Milius racked up three hits and a stolen base.

In the finale, the Blue Devils’ bats again helped the team to an early lead. An early Backlund home run saw the team up two heading into the third inning. While the Hawks scored five in the third, CCSU matched with five of their own. Hartford eventually took the lead off of a four-run sixth and while Central tacked on a run in the seventh, it wasn’t enough as they fell 10-9, losing both games of their first doubleheader at home.

Despite the loss, three different players left the yard while six had at least one RBI. Both Milius and Alicia Bertolino drove in three runs.

After coming up short in both games, Gleason thought her team could’ve improved mentally.

“I did not think we played well, I think we underperformed a lot,” Gleason said. “We need to make sure we are confident, we trust the process, we trust what we are doing and right now we aren’t doing that.”

Gleason went on to say that while her team was swept, she was impressed with their performance at the plate.

“I think our hitters are the one bright spot for the weekend, I think that they looked confident and had great at bats,” Gleason said. “I think they came through when they needed to all over the lineup. If there’s one thing to hold on to it’s that we have been swinging the bat pretty well.”

As the Blue Devils approach Northeast Conference play, Gleason says that she hopes her team can focus and get back to playing the softball they were last weekend.

Central will next take the field on Wednesday at Quinnipiac.