Saturday morning dawned gloomily for the Emerson softball team, the same grim weather that had washed their game out the previous day in Vermont had again greeted the team when they awoke for their doubleheader against conference rival Simmons College. Now, it threatened to postpone their game once again.
Even as the clouds held, things did not improve for the Lions. The first game saw Emerson squander a solid outing from freshman pitcher Kelsey Tuthil. The Lions eventually lost 3-2 and in the process dropped just their second game in Great Northeast Athletic Conference play this year.
By weekend's end, however, and with the same storm still lingering overhead, the Lions were feeling downright sunny. They won their remaining three games to move to 18-6 on the season (10-2 in the GNAC) and salvaging what could have been a soggy weekend.
"I think that the loss woke us up a bit," sophomore Brittany Martin said. "[It] made us realize that we can't sleepwalk through this conference."
If the Lions slept through the first game of the doubleheader, Simmons had nightmares in the second. After an onslaught of hits, the game was called in the sixth inning, the Lions' 8-0 lead good enough to trigger the mercy rule. Emerson, however, was not finished.
Sunday the Lions traveled to Babson Park, Mass. to face a pair of out-of-conference teams in a mixed double-header.
Against Babson College in the first game, the Lions trailed by a run heading into the last inning until Jilisa Rawding's two-run single to right opened the floodgates. The Lions tacked on five more runs before the damage was done and turned what was almost another 3-2 loss into a 9-3 victory.
Rawding said it was just a matter of time before the Lions broke through.
"At first we just ?couldn't string our hits together but then we began to play our game, " the sophomore said.
In the second game, the Lions closed out their out-of-conference play for the year with a resounding victory over Lesley College. Tuthill put a nice capper on the weekend by firing seven innings of one-hit ball, en route to a 6-0 shutout. Tuthill's ERA on the year in just her first season of collegiate ball now stands at a miniscule 0.88.
Yet as impressive as Tuthill's performance was, no one could match the weekend junior outfielder Bridget Farago had. In 16 at-bats, Farago recorded 11 hits, belting a homerun and driving in five.
Farago's show did not go unnoticed.
"She's one of those teammates that you have so much confidence in," said Martin. "No matter the situation, she produces. The girl gets up to bat and you just know she is going to make something happen."
And it is not just Farago's hitting exploits that seem to impress her teammates.
With six straight doubleheaders against conference opponents remaining between now and the start of the GNAC tournament on April 21, the Lions know they will need that kind of strength from all of their players if they hope to return to the glory of Farago's freshman year. That season, Emerson won the GNAC and made it all the way to the NCAAs. Martin said she is well-aware that Farago alone cannot carry the team.
"We have a mutual goal in mind for this season and have to keep pushing if we want to see it happen," Martin said. "This is a different team than last year. We all support each other and want to see everyone succeed. We win and lose as a team. It's not about individual stats, it's about taking this team to the place we want to be."