Walk off home run by Cerreta '20 highlights softball's DH split

Walk off home run by Cerreta '20 highlights softball's DH split

The Hamilton College softball team split a doubleheader Saturday afternoon to wrap up a NESCAC West Division weekend series against the visiting Middlebury Panthers at the Loop Road Baseball/Softball Complex. The Continentals won the opener 6-4 on a two-out, three-run walk off home run in the final inning before Middlebury took game two by an 11-1 count.

Hamilton (9-19 overall, 1-8 NESCAC West Division) climbed all the way out of a 4-0 second-inning hole in the opener, capping the rally when Sophia Cerreta '20 sent the first pitch she saw over the center field fence for her first collegiate home run. Trailing 4-3, Becca Butler '17 got the Continentals started in the bottom of the seventh by reaching on a one-out pinch-hit single. Emily Fraser '20 singled to right to put the winning run on base and an out later Cerreta provided the game-winning walk-off homer.

Three Hamilton pitchers combined to hold the Panthers to three hits over the final five innings after the visitors had scored twice in both the first and second.

The Continental comeback began in the fifth when Hamilton loaded the bases with one out. Ashleah Yzaguirre '19 singled to lead off the inning and a batter later, Caitlin Berreitter '20 was hit by a pitch and Daphne Assimakopoulos '17 beat out an infield single. Kendall Searcy '20 forced in a run with a walk and Fraser doubled in a pair to pull the Continentals to within a run.

After Middlebury (12-8, 2-4 NESCAC West) went ahead 4-0 in the second, the Hamilton pitching staff blanked the Panthers over the next 17 outs. Starter Ursula Castiblanco '19 worked out of a jam in the second to get the innings last two outs, then extricated the Continentals from trouble in the next two innings as the visitors put two runners on in the third and loaded the bases in the fourth. Molly Leitner '19 picked up the next four outs before Castiblanco came back in to retire Middlebury's fifth and sixth hitters with two runners on base. Desmen DePaulis '19 earned the win with a scoreless seventh inning, working out of a two-on/one-out jam.

The Panthers scored twice in each of the first two innings. In the first, Ali Della Volpe drew a leadoff walk and scored on a passed ball before Erin Giles singled home Melanie Mandell.

An inning later, Hye-Jin Kim's single and a double by Taylor Gardner set Middlebury up with two runners in scoring position before a wild pitch and a Della Volpe bunt brought in two more runs. Kim and Gardner both had two of Middlebury's six hits.

In the nightcap, Allison Quigley threw a four-hitter in a game shortened to five innings by the eight-run rule. The Panthers scored in each of their five times at bat, putting six runs on the board in the third.

Quigley hit a two-run home run along with a single and two doubles, driving in four runs. Gardner added three runs batted in for Middlebury. They both drove in a pair of runs in the third: Quigley with her first home run of the spring and Gardner with a two-run double. Two more runs scored on infield grounders as the Panthers finished the inning with a 9-0 advantage.

The visitors got on the board in the first on a run-scoring double by Quigley. An inning later Giles doubled and scored on an infield out and the Panthers picked up single runs in their last two times at bat; Quigley scored a run in the fourth and singled in Middlebury's final run in the fifth.

The Continentals scored their run in the fifth, picking up two of their four hits in the inning. Fraser led off with a double to center field, then moved to third on a single by Phoebe Collins '18 before Yzaguirre put Hamilton on the board with a sacrifice fly.

The Continentals are scheduled to return to action Tuesday, playing a 3:30 p.m. non-conference doubleheader at SUNY Oswego.