A pitching gem by freshman Hannah Otterman helped the University of Mary Washington softball team take one of two St. Patrick’s Day games against Eastern Mennonite University last Saturday. The split of the afternoon doubleheader kept the Eagles at .500 on the season with a 10-10 mark overall.
Otterman, who has been UMW’s top pitcher during her freshman campaign, threw a complete game, three-hit shutout to lead the Eagles to a 1-0 win in their first game against the Royals. The Roanoke, Va. native’s electric stuff baffled the EMU hitters, as she struck out 10 batters and earned high praise from her coach following the victory.
“Her movement and location was near perfect,” head coach Dee Conway said. “She made it easy for our defense to adjust. Her confidence in her own abilities is quite impressive. This is an obvious sign of how hard she works when no one is watching. She trusts herself, making it easy to relax and simply focus on one pitch at a time.”
Royals senior pitcher Lisa Lee matched Otterman for most of the game. The EMU ace quieted the Eagles bats through five innings and retired nine straight hitters at one point, but a sixth-inning rally allowed the Eagles to eek out the win. After a pair of UMW singles and a walk loaded the bases, senior first baseman Morgan Lamon laced a base hit to left to drive in junior Brandee Adams for the only run of the game.
“The dugout was up and eager to get that hit,” Conway said. “I was happy for Mo [Lamon]. She’s been working hard to be the clutch hitter and get it done for the team.”
However, the emotional high from the late-inning win didn’t last long for UMW, as Eastern Mennonite tallied eight runs in the first inning of the doubleheader’s finale. EMU only recorded four hits in the inning, but shoddy defense by the Eagles aided the Royals run explosion.
Mary Washington junior pitcher Annie Blaine got tagged with the loss, as Conway pulled her after one-third of an inning as the inning snowballed to try to break up the Royals momentum. Blaine gave up two hits, one walk and seven runs (five earned) in the defeat. Senior Danielle Cunetta made a relief appearance and finished the rest of the contest, surrendering one run on six hits in her 6.2 innings of work.
The Eagles offense continued to be held at bay by Royals pitching, this time by freshman starter Jordan Aylor. UMW scraped across a pair of runs, one in third inning on an RBI groundout and the other in seventh driven in by Brittany Scites’ RBI triple, but those were the only blemishes on Aylor’s strong performance. The Royals’ first-year pitcher allowed just four hits while walking two in her seven innings of action, notching the 8-2 victory in the process.
As Capital Athletic Conference play approaches, the Lady Eagles try to recapture the success they found during their spring break trip to Myrtle Beach. UMW went 7-1 while in South Carolina, but are just 3-9 on the year (and just 3-7 at home) in their other contests. Conway laid out her realistic expectations now that conference play is almost upon her team.
“We’ve made significant progress in all areas. However, we still have much work to do,” Conway said. “Keep working on the physical fundamentals, continue developing our mental toughness [and] maintain our intensity and focus…At this point in time my best guess is middle of the pack [in the CAC] with aspirations to be better.”
Yesterday’s game against Christopher Newport University was supposed to be the Eagles’ final tune up before entering their most important stretch of the season, but the game was canceled due to rain. The softball team will next take the field this Saturday, March 24, when they travel up to Maryland to take on conference foe Stevenson University.