The atmosphere was tense as Kendal Peiguss stood at the plate, the outcome of the game riding on her swing. Screams blasted from the dugout in the bottom of the eighth inning. The score stood tied at 3-3, with two outs and a runner on second. As the pitch flew from the mound, the senior captain swung and launched the ball toward left center field. As soon as she made contact, it was apparent it was gone. It soared far and landed over the fence at Rotch Field, signaling that the Emerson softball team had just won its fourth game in two days.
The Lions stormed out of the dugout to greet Peiguss as she crossed home plate. After trailing 3-2, Emerson rallied to defeat Norwich in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader. In what the players called a display of camaraderie and concentration, the Lions won the first game 16-1 and the second 5-3.
Each player at bat received supportive chants from the bench throughout the entirety of the games.
“Last year, the energy on the dugout—not so much,” right-fielder Brittany Rochford said. She said that the softball team wants to focus on making sure each player knows that the team has her back.
Peiguss agreed, saying that the dugout’s spirit greatly effects how the team does.
“You feel the team energy, like you’re up there, you know you have a job to do,” she said.
Head coach Phil McElroy said that the high expectations of the team occasionally created an atmosphere of seriousness, and that this season, the players should loosen up.
“We became more too much business and not enough fun. So we’re trying to get a little more fun back in the game, and with that, chemistry has been great, players have really bought into the ‘ra-ra atmosphere,’ and so that’s been big for us,” McElroy said.
Peiguss said that the amalgamation of cheering and screaming songs of support, along with a multitude of successful at-bats, allowed for Emerson to produce at the plate.
“I think that the extra energy that the team brought to us, that’s what pushed us over,” the shortstop said.
The energy was certainly present in the first Norwich game. Less than 24 hours after routing Suffolk 8-0 and 6-1 in a doubleheader, Emerson went up 6-0 in the first inning of their opening game against the Cadets. The Lions continued to yell from the bench, fight on the field, and tack another 10 runs up on the scoreboard by the end of the game.
The batters were in proper form, according to Peiguss.
“We were where we needed to be offensively. That’s how we expect to play every day,” Peiguss said.
Her teammate echoed the captain’s statement.
“The first game, I think we were more on our element,” Rochford said.
The next day, the momentum continued as the Lions defeated Mount Ida 9-1 and 9-1, wrapping up the weekend with six Great Northeast Athletic Conference wins in three consecutive days. Emerson now sits atop the GNAC standings with a 6-0 record. After defeating Brandeis Wednesday, the team has a 12-5 overall record, winning nine of its last ten games.