The Emerson women's softball team braved the cold winds of Rotch Field on March 22, dropping the Johnson Wales University Wildcats twice in a noon time double header. The Lions are now a perfect 4-0 in the GNAC for the start of their season.
The Lions were able to tame the Wildcats early in the first game, racking up a 15-0 run in just two innings. The game ended after the fifth inning due to the mercy rule, the Lions winning by a score of 18-0.
Head Coach Phil McElroy said the Lions were able to rack up the lead by virtue of both their own solid offense and some key mistakes by the JWU fielders.
"It was basically a combo of pretty good hitting and a good amount of errors on their side," he said. "A lot of unearned runs, you never score 18 runs without a lot of unearned runs. When we had opportunities, we took advantage of them."
Fresh off a spring break trip in Florida, the Emerson team is adjusting to the cold Boston weather. McElroy said the low temperatures are especially difficult on the pitching staff.
"The trouble is with the pitching," he said. "You can't grip the ball, it's hard to throw. We're coming along with that, but it'll take a little time."
The cold didn't seem to faze pitchers Kelsey Tuthill and Annie Denenberg, who combined to allow only two hits and zero runs.
Tuthill said the previous morning's double header against St. Joseph's College was even colder.
"Yesterday was rough, it was very cold," the freshman communication science and disorders major said. "Today was a little bit better. Just got to get used to it, I guess."
The impact of the cold is compounded by the strong winds that blow over Rotch Field, making it more difficult for the outfielders to do their job.
"Rotch field is definitely difficult to deal with, especially as an outfielder judging balls," said senior captain Bridget Farago. "But once you're out here, you get used to it, you get back into the rhythm, and that's what's important."
The Wildcats put up more of a fight during the second game, allowing only four runs over the course of a full seven innings. With Emerson hitters held at bay by Wildcat ace Amanda Rae Sullivan, the pressure was off the JWU fielders, who made fewer errors as a result.
"The second game was much better for them," said McElroy. "We didn't have many base-runners. I think when we had base-runners, they made mistakes, so I think we just kind of put in a workman-like performance in the second game."
The Lions owed much of their success to the competent defense of both their infield and their outfield. Farago said communication was the key to keeping the opponents' hitters from getting on-base.
"Chemistry and communication are of ultimate importance," the writing, literature, and publishing major said. "I think the outfielders and infielders do a great job of talking to each other, which is really important. Not just within the separate groups, but it just allows people to understand their roles and what's going on in each situation."
Tuthill, who has a team high 6-1 record and a 1.58 ERA for the season, said knowing that she has great fielders backing her up takes a load off her shoulders.
"Knowing if batters get a hit, the outfield is more than likely to catch it, it's really helpful because it doesn't mean I have to hit my spot 100 percent of the time," she said.