In the midst of a prolific offensive season for Randolph-Macon softball, there is a steady force of another kind that has the Jackets where they are.
Remember, the game doesn’t begin until there is a pitch.
Seniors Heather Lewis and Kristen Dize once again shut down an ODAC opponent, allowing just two runs over two games Sunday, defeating Randolph College 5-1 and 8-1 in Ashland. By improving to 8-4 in the ODAC, 23-6 overall, the Jackets quickly rid themselves of the bad taste of a doubleheader loss the day before at Lynchburg.
“The ODAC is so strong, any given day a team can win, and, frankly, Lynchburg outhit us,” head coach Kevin Proffitt said. “We battled, but we got into too big of a hole to get out of. We don’t go crazy about losses, we focus on how we can get better, and to see them come out and respond today was terrific.”
Lewis handcuffed the Wildcats in game one, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning when Randolph scored their lone, unearned run. By then, the Jackets had built a 4-0 lead, including a three-run first highlighted by a Madison Gilman two-run single, plating Amanda Sopko and Sharese Jarvis. Randolph’s best chance for a comeback came by getting two runners aboard in the sixth and seventh, but each time, Lewis slammed the door, improving her personal mark in 2013 to 13-3.
“Yesterday was not our day,” Lewis said, referring to the Lynchburg defeats. “So we wanted to get back here, get the sweep to get back in the standings.”
Randolph-Macon only had seven hits in game one, but three were doubles. They utilized speed, stealing six bases, three by Sopko alone. But in game two, the Jackets cranked up the long ball to support Dize.
Jarvis doubled in the first to score Sopko, who walked to start the Macon first. Then Sharese went yard, not once, but twice, a solo shot in the fifth and a two-run shot in the sixth. Jarvis led the ODAC as a freshman with 10 home runs; she already has 16 this season. Freshman Jenna Best also homered in the 8-1 win while Gilman went two for four in the nightcap to raise her average to .488.
But the defense also rose to the occasion, supporting Dize (8-3) with three double plays during her win.
“They (the double plays) are such a huge boost of morale,” Dize noted.
The victories set the tone for the final regular season homestand for Randolph-Macon, who will play 10 games in five doubleheaders over nine days before finishing the season on the road with twinbills at Shenandoah and the ODAC’s only unbeaten team, Roanoke.
Proffitt looks forward to his senior tandem leading the way in the circle down the stretch, but noted Best’s solid performance in relief Saturday against Lynchburg and expects to use her as well.
Randolph-Macon continued their home winning streak with a sweep of Mary Baldwin in non-conference play Tuesday afternoon, 10-2 and 9-1, both games in five innings. The Jackets next host back-to-back doubleheaders Saturday against Bridgewater and Sunday against Eastern Mennonite. Saturday’s visit by the Eagles marks the return of Hanover graduate Brooke Throckmorton, who is batting .377 with 11 RBI and 5 runs scored in 19 games as a freshman.