Softball Advances to CAC Semis
In her first taste of postseason collegiate softball, University of Mary Washington freshman pitcher Hannah Otterman delivered a stellar outing. The first-year player tossed seven innings of one-run ball to help lift the Eagles to a 2-1 win over Stevenson University in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament.
“She has been doing it all year long and that’s why I think she was able to it again in the conference tournament, because nothing changes,” Head Coach Dee Conway said. “We were really pleased that she was relaxed, she stayed calm and she held her composure on the mound. She hit her spots and she kept the hitters off balance and we can’t ask any more than that.”
The visiting Mustangs scattered six hits off the Eagles’ ace, but Otterman was able to limit the damage. Stevenson knew runs against a pitcher of Otterman’s caliber come few and far between, so the Mustangs gave up outs time and again to advance runners into scoring position. This strategy paid off in the fourth inning when a sacrifice bunt moved the Mustangs’ Lisa Bilski to second base and the senior later scored on a double, but that instance proved to be the exception.
However, the lone blip for Otterman in the fourth looked as though it could be costly in a low scoring, 1-1 game. But then in the bottom of the fifth, a fellow Hannah came through to give her pitcher some run support. Sophomore Hannah Williams smoked a two-out double to right field to drive in the go-ahead run, senior Amanda Adams, and give UMW the lead back for good.
The Eagles offense applied pressure to Stevenson pitcher Katie Diller throughout the contest, but simply failed to capitalize on their opportunities. UMW tallied nine hits and drew three walks in the game, but only scraped across the two runs as they left nine runners on base.
Fortunately for Conway’s team, the limited run support was enough for Otterman, her lowered her season ERA to 1.94 and notched her team-best 11th win in the first round victory. Senior Morgan Lamon was again the main catalyst in Mary Washington’s lineup, as she drove in a run and ripped two more hits to improve her season average to a conference-best .488 on the season.
“Mo’s done a tremendous job this year,” Conway said about her slugging first baseman. “This is something that we were looking for her to do her entire career and this year everything is clicking. I’m extremely happy for her and more importantly I’m pleased for the team that it’s happening.”
The focus for the No. 2 seeded Eagles has since transitioned to today’s second round CAC Tournament matchup against No. 3 seed Frostburg State University. UMW split their two regular season meetings with the Bobcats this season, but this third meeting will be the Eagles first crack against FSU at home on the year.
As of yesterday afternoon, Conway said that a decision had not yet been made as to who would start the Eagles’ pivotal game. The softball head coach explained that she and her staff would put who they believed would be the most effective player on the mound who they thought gave UMW the best chance to get a win. Conway did reveal that bringing back Otterman again after she pitched Tuesday was an option.
“Softball’s a little bit different than baseball,” Conway explained. “All softball pitchers can pitch the same day back-to-back-to-back. They’ve done that their whole careers so this is nothing. So absolutely [Otterman] is in the running [to start]. She’s available.”
First pitch for the CAC softball semifinals is slated for 4 p.m. this afternoon.